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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Jan;37(1):224-30.

Androgenic anabolic steroids and arterial structure and function in male bodybuilders.

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1
Department of Cardiology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The study examined arterial and cardiac structure and function in bodybuilders using androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS), compared to non-steroid-using bodybuilder controls.

BACKGROUND:

Adverse cardiovascular events have been reported in bodybuilders taking anabolic steroids. The cardiovascular effects of AAS, however, have not been investigated in detail.

METHODS:

We recruited 20 male bodybuilders (aged 35 +/- 3 years), 10 actively using AAS and 10 who denied ever using steroids. Serum lipid and hormone levels, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), arterial reactivity, and left ventricular (LV) dimensions were measured. Vessel diameter was measured by ultrasound at rest, during reactive hyperemia (an endothelium-dependent response, leading to flow-mediated dilation, FMD), and after sublingual nitroglycerin (GTN, an endothelium-independent dilator). Arterial reactivity was also measured in 10 age-matched non-bodybuilding sedentary controls.

RESULTS:

Use of AAS was associated with significant decreases in high density lipoprotein cholesterol, sex hormone binding globulin, testosterone and gonadotrophin levels, and significant increases in LV mass and self-reported physical strength (p < 0.05). Carotid IMT (0.60 +/- 0.04 mm vs. 0.63 +/- 0.07 mm), arterial FMD (4.7 +/- 1.4% vs. 4.1 +/- 0.7%) and GTN responses (11.0 +/- 1.9% vs. 14.4 +/- 1.7%) were similar in both bodybuilding groups (p > 0.2). The GTN responses were significantly lower and carotid IMT significantly higher in both bodybuilding groups, however, compared with the non-bodybuilding sedentary controls (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Although high-level bodybuilding is associated with impaired vascular reactivity and increased arterial thickening, the use of AAS per se is not associated with significant abnormalities of arterial structure or function.

PMID:
11153743
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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