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Physiol Behav. 1997 Mar;61(3):359-64.

Anabolic-androgenic steroid exposure during adolescence and aggressive behavior in golden hamsters.

Author information

1
Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA 01655, USA. RMel-loni@bangate.ummed.edu

Abstract

Anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse by adolescents represents a significant health care risk due to the potential for long-term negative physical and psychological sequelae, including increased aggressive behavior. The current experiments examined the effects of AAS use in young male adolescent hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) and their consequences on aggressive behavior. It was hypothesized that AAS administration during adolescence predisposes hamsters to heightened levels of aggressive behavior (i.e., offensive aggression). To test this hypothesis adolescent male hamsters were administered high doses of synthetic AAS to mimic a 'heavy use' self-administration regimen used by athletes. Immediately following the exposure to AAS hamsters were tested for aggressive behavior using a resident-intruder model. Animals treated with high doses of AAS during their adolescent development showed heightened measures of offensive aggression i.e., decreased latency to bite and increased total number of attacks and bites) during the test period, while measures of total activity (total contact time) between the animals remained unchanged. AAS-treated males did not differ in body weight from controls, suggesting that the increased aggression was not due to increased body mass. The results of this study show that exposure to AAS during adolescence facilitates aggressive response patterns, but does not alter body weight.

PMID:
9089753
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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