Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroscience. 2009 Jun 30;161(2):526-37. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.03.039. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

Effects of chronic exposure to an anabolic androgenic steroid cocktail on alpha5-receptor-mediated GABAergic transmission and neural signaling in the forebrain of female mice.

Author information

Department of Physiology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetic derivatives of testosterone that are illicitly self-administered for enhancement of performance and body image, but which also have significant effects on the brain and on behavior. While the stereotypical AAS user is an adult male, AAS abuse in women is rapidly increasing, yet few studies have examined AAS effects in female subjects. We have assessed the effects in female mice of a combination of commonly abused AAS on neuronal activity and neurotransmission mediated by GABA type A (GABA(A)) receptors in the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN); a nexus in the circuits of the hypothalamus and forebrain that are critical for the expression of social behaviors known to be altered in AAS abuse. Our data indicate that chronic exposure to AAS resulted in androgen receptor (AR)-dependent upregulation of alpha(5), beta(3) and delta subunit mRNAs. Acute application of the alpha(5) subunit-selective inverse agonist, L-655,708 (L6), indicated that a significant fraction of the synaptic current is carried by alpha(5)-containing receptors and that AAS treatment may enhance expression of alpha(5)-containing receptors contributing to synaptic, but not tonic, currents in the MPN. AAS treatment also resulted in a significant decrease in action potential frequency in MPN neurons that was also correlated with an increased sensitivity to L-655,708. Our data demonstrate that chronic exposure to multiple AAS elicits significant changes in GABAergic transmission and neuronal activity that are likely to reflect changes in the expression of alpha(5)-containing synaptic receptors within the MPN.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication type

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center