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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1996 Mar;53(3):741-5.

Anabolic-androgenic steroids and brain reward.

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Department of Psychology, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) effects on brain reward were investigated in male rats with electrodes implanted in the lateral hypothalamus using the rate-frequency curve shift paradigm of brain stimulation reward. In the first experiment, treatment for 2 weeks with the AAS methandrostenolone had no effect on either the reward or performance components of intracranial self-stimulation. In the second experiment, treatment for 15 weeks with an AAS "cocktail" consisting of testosterone cypionate, nandrolone decanoate, and boldenone undecylenate did not alter brain reward but did produce a slight but significant change in bar press rate. In addition to the AAS treatment, animals in the second study were administered a single injection of d-amphetamine before and after 15 weeks of AAS exposure. The rate-frequency curve shift observed in response to a systemic injection of amphetamine was significantly greater in animals after 15 weeks of treatment with the AAS cocktail. Although AAS do not appear to alter the rewarding properties of brain stimulation, AAS may influence the sensitivity of brain reward systems.

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