Histological Effect of Androgenic Anabolic Steroids on Liver
Keywords:Androgenic anabolic steroid, histology, liver, liver enzymes.
Abstract: Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) they are the synthetic type of the natural male sex hormone
(testosterone), they are widespread used amongst athletes to enhance performance. Abuse of AAS is common
amongst players and it is usually accompanied by a many medically based complications. It was reported
that hepatic problems include cholestasis, elevation of liver enzymes e.g. aminotransferases, as well as,
benign hepatic adenomas, jaundice and to less extent of hepatocellular carcinoma was associated with their
A total of (12) adult New Zealand rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) male, aged one year was selected. 2
control animals and 10 were treated with injections intramuscularly of the AAS, nandrolone decanoate
(15 mg/kg) three times a week for 12 weeks. At the end of experiment the animals were sacrificed and the
liver was dissected out and fixed using 10% buffered formalin-saline to prepare blocks for staining with
haematoxylin and eosin for histological examination using the light microscope.
The liver of treated animals reveals that there are a mild to severe vascular congestion. There is swelling of
hepatocytes, and inflammatory cell infiltration. Perivascular fibrosis, cellular necrosis was observed in other
slides with sinusoidal congestions and extrabiliary bile pigments deposits.
The benefit of AAS comes with unwanted side effects. The total volume of the hepatocytes and sinusoids
were increased in the studied animals. The total number of hepatocytes nuclei in experimental group also
increased. The damage of the liver cells or at least increased permeability of the hepatocellular membrane
which is noticed in the present work could explain the increment of plasma levels of liver enzymes
which was studied by other researchers, as they notice an elevation liver enzymes activity such as alanine
aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (AP), gamma glutamyl
transpeptidase (GGT), and lactate dehydrogenase(LDH)..
Patients and physicians must kept in mind that the sequelae of AAS abuse are life threatening. So people
should be aware about the complications of AAS use and a periodic examination of liver function and check
out should be done to those treated groups.
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