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Behav Brain Res. 2008 May 16;189(1):191-201. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2007.12.021. Epub 2008 Jan 5.

Sub-chronic nandrolone treatment modifies neurochemical and behavioral effects of amphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in rats.

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Drug Research Unit, Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.


Misuse of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs) is increasing, and appears to have much in common with the use of substances known to induce drug dependence. Moreover, persons who abuse AASs also tend to abuse other psychotropic drugs such as amphetamine or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy"). The aim of this study was to investigate whether nandrolone (5 x 5 or 5 x 20 mg/kg) pre-exposure modulates the acute neurochemical and behavioral effects of amphetamine (1mg/kg) and MDMA (5 mg/kg) in rats. Dopamine (DA), 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and their metabolites were measured from samples collected from the nucleus accumbens (NAc) by in vivo microdialysis. The behavior of the animals was recorded on videotapes, from which it was later rated. Our results demonstrate that sub-chronic treatments with supraphysiological doses of nandrolone attenuate dose-dependently the increase in extracellular DA concentration evoked by amphetamine or MDMA. The lower dose of nandrolone attenuated MDMA-induced increase in 5-HT-levels, while the higher dose potentiated it. Analysis of the behavioral data suggests that effects of the amphetamine and MDMA are dose-dependently attenuated by AAS-treatment, paralleling DA results. In conclusion, the results of this study show that AAS-pre-treatment is able to modulate the reward-related neurochemical and behavioral effects of amphetamine and MDMA.

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