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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2003 Aug;27(5):413-36.

Behavioral and physiological responses to anabolic-androgenic steroids.

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Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, 6207 Moore Hall, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetic derivatives of testosterone originally designed for therapeutic uses to provide enhanced anabolic potency with negligible androgenic effects. Although AAS continue to be used clinically today, the medical benefits of low therapeutic doses of AAS stand in sharp contrast to the potential health risks associated with the excessive doses self-administered not only by elite athletes and body builders, but by a growing number of recreational users, including adolescent boys and girls. The deleterious effects of AAS on peripheral organs and the incidence of altered behaviors in AAS abusers have been well documented in a number of excellent current reviews for clinical populations. However, a comparable synthesis of nonclinical studies has not been made. Our purpose in this review is to summarize the literature for animal models of the effects of supraphysiological doses of AAS (e.g. those that mimic human abuse regimes) on behaviors and on the neural circuitry for these behaviors. In particular, we have focused on studies in rodents that have examined how AAS alter aggression, sexual behaviors, anxiety, reward, learning, and locomotion and how AAS alter the expression and function of neurotransmitter systems and other signaling molecules that underlie these behaviors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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