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Anabolic androgenic steroids affects alcohol intake, defensive behaviors and brain opioid peptides in the rat.

Journal article
Authors P Johansson
Ann-Sophie Lindqvist
F Nyberg
Claudia Fahlke
Published in Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior
Volume 67
Issue 2
Pages 271-9
ISSN 0091-3057
Publication year 2000
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 271-9
Language en
Keywords Aggression, drug effects, Alcohol Drinking, Anabolic Agents, pharmacology, Animals, Behavior, Animal, drug effects, Body Weight, drug effects, Brain, drug effects, metabolism, Drinking Behavior, drug effects, Food Preferences, drug effects, Male, Motor Activity, drug effects, Opioid Peptides, drug effects, metabolism, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Time Factors
Subject categories Psychology


The present study investigated whether a relationship exists between nandrolone decanoate and voluntary ethanol intake in laboratory rats. Animals were subjected to daily subcutaneous injections with nandrolone decanoate (15 mg/kg) during 2 weeks. One group of animals was tested for voluntary alcohol intake 1 week after the end of the 2-week treatment period and another group received alcohol 3 weeks after the treatment. In addition, assessment of defensive behaviors and immunoreactivity (ir) levels of the brain opioid peptides dynorphin B and Met-enkephalin-Arg-Phe (MEAP) were performed. The nandrolone decanoate-treated animals were significantly more aggressive and showed lower fleeing and freeezing reaction than the oil-treated controls. Treatment with nandrolone decanoate enhanced voluntary alcohol intake, regardless if it was presented 1 or 3 weeks after end of the treatment period. These animals had a decreased activity of dynorphin B-ir in the nucleus accumbens, decreased levels of MEAP-ir in the periaqueductal gray (PAG) and higher levels of MEAP-ir in the hypothalamus compared to controls. In line with previous studies, this suggests that the altered dynorphin B-ir activity may promote the rewarding effects of ethanol and thereby increasing alcohol intake, whereas MEAP-ir may be associated with the ability to control the aggressive reaction. Abuse of nandrolone decanoate may thus constitute a risk factor for increased alcohol consumption and defensive aggression. In human, this constellation of behavioral symptoms is closely related to acts of crimes and violence and is often observed among those abusing anabolic androgenic steroids.

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