Feeding effect of an anabolic steroid, nandrolone, on the male rat testis

Dong Mok Lee, Taesun Min, Inho Choi, Yong Pil Cheon, Taehoon Chun, Chang Sik Park, Ki Ho Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Nandrolone, 19-nortestosterone, is a synthetic androgenic-anabolic steroid promoting muscle growth. Nandrolone is also present in pig meat and sera at non-negligible levels. A number of scientific reports have suggested a positive relationship between incidence of infertility and increased meat consumption in humans. The present study was designed to determine out the effect of feeding nandrolone on the testis of the male reproductive tract. Mixtures of food and nandrolone at different concentrations (0.005 ppm and 0.5 ppm) were supplied to pubertal male rats for 6 weeks. Body weight was recorded every week during the entire experimental period. At the end of the treatment, the testis, epididymis, and epididymal fat were collected and weighted. Sperm numbers in the caudal epididymis were counted. Differential gene or protein expression of steroidogenic enzymes in the testes among experimental groups was determined by semi-quantitative real-time PCR or western blotting analysis, respectively. Histological changes of the testis induced by nandrolone treatment were examined by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Immunohistochemical analysis was employed to detect changes in the localization of steroidogenic enzymes in the testes among experimental animals. There were no significant changes on body, testis, epididymis, and epididymal fat weights among experimental groups. A significant increase of caudal sperm number was found in the 0.5 ppm nandrolone-treated group. Histological examination of the testes noted a high frequency of germ cell sloughing in seminiferous tubules of 0.5 ppm nandrolone-treated rats. Even though transcript levels of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD) I, 17β-HSD4, and 17α-hydroxylase were influenced by nandrolone treatments, protein levels of all molecules examined in the present study were not significantly affected. Immunohistochemical analysis showed no visible changes in the localization of steroidogenic enzymes in the testes among experimental groups. The current study showed that oral intake of nandrolone in male rats for 6 weeks did not cause significant damage to the testis. It is considered that a feeding effect of nandrolone on male fertility would not be remarkable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1566-1577
Number of pages12
JournalAsian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec


  • Fertility
  • Nandrolone
  • Steroidogenic enzymes
  • Testis
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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