Endothelial function in male body builders taking anabolic androgenic steroids

H Hashemi, F Bayat, R Heidari, R Basiratnia, Y Kiyani


Background: Adverse cardiovascular events have been reported in body builders taking anabolic steroids. Adverse effects of AAS on endothelial function can initiate atherosclerosis. This study evaluates endothelial function in body builders using AAS, compared with non-steroids using athletes as controls.
Methods: We recruited 30 nonsmoking male body builders taking AAS, 14 in build up phase, 8 in work out phase, and 8 in post steroid phase, and 30 nonsmoking male athletes who denied ever using steroids. Serum lipids and fasting plasma glucose were measured to exclude dyslipidemia and diabetes. Brachial artery diameter was measured by ultrasound at rest, after cuff inflation, and after sublingual glyceriltrinitrate (GTN) to determine flow mediated dilation (FMD), nitro mediated dilation (NMD) and ratio of FMD to NMD (index of endothelial function).
Result: Use of AAS was associated with higher body mass index (BMI) and low density lipoprotein–cholesterol (LDL-C). Mean ratio of flow mediated dilatation after cuff deflation to post GTN dilatation of brachial artery (index of endothelial function) in body builders taking AAS was significantly lower than control group (0.96(0.05) versus 1(0.08); p=0.03). After adjusting BMI, age and weight, no significant difference was seen in index of endothelial function between two groups (p=0 .21).
Conclusion: Our study indicates that taking AAS in body builders doesn’t have direct effect on endothelial function. Future study with bigger sample size and measurement of AAS metabolites is recommended.
Key words: endothelium, lipids, anabolic steroids, body builders

Full Text: