ha, deca is bad for your joints…
GENE EXPRESSION IN TENDS/COLLAGEN AFTER HEAVY AAS USE
Researchers in the European Journal of Applied Physiology examined how heavy use of the anabolic steroid Deca-Durabolin affected collagen strength in rats. The rats were separated into two groups: natural training and training with heavy anabolic steroid use. The dose the researchers administered to the rats was considered supra-physiological ? Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate) 5mg/kg of bodyweight.
The rats were cleverly forced to perform resistance exercise, but you can?t just tell a rat to start benching ? so the researchers attached weights to the rats? backs. They dropped the rats into a tank of water and the rats immediately jumped out of the water as soon as they were dunked. Every week, the researchers gradually made the weight on the rats? backs heavier and heavier until at the end of seven weeks the weight was 80 percent of their bodyweight. The researchers dropped the rats in the tank so that they performed this for 4 sets x 10 repetitions of ?jumps? with 30-second rest periods. After that, they rats were sacrificed and the rats? tendons and collagen were examined for gene expression.
There were some very interesting findings after seven weeks of training with anabolic steroids, compared with the natty (natural) group of rats. The natty group did not have any biochemical changes in the rat tendon/collagen properties, while the anabolic steroid group had major changes.(6) The Deca-Durabolin group had reduced biochemical properties of genes involving tendon and collagen strength.
It is interesting to note that AAS administration reduced the accumulation of IGF-1 mRNA levels in some tendon regions, compared to the non-treated, trained group. This decrease of IGF-1 mRNA levels induced by AAS administration may be related to the observed decreases collagen expression when considering the possible connection between IGF-1 and collagen synthesis.(8) The AAS treatment also decreased the MMP-2 mRNA expression (this gene encodes an enzyme for collagen).
The above study is similar to another recently published study, which showed that nandrolone impaired the healing of rotator cuffs of rabbits. In the latter study, male rabbits underwent an incision in the rotator cuff and were divided into groups with anabolic steroids (nandrolone decanoate, 10mg/kg) and natural recovery. Groups that did not receive anabolic steroids showed better healing and more tendon strength compared to groups that received anabolic steroids. Microscopic examination of specimens from the groups with anabolic steroid use showed focal fibroblastic reaction and inflammation, suggesting an impaired healing response.(7)
The key point is that many of these studies were using supraphysiological dosages of steroids that could be like the typical Olympia stack ? but the new research suggests that a high-volume approach to training with less weight may be a better approach to use for a bodybuilder than a high-intensity, heavy weight program that puts more stress on the tendons and makes them more susceptible to injury.
By Robbie Durand, M.A., Senior Science Editor of Muscular Development
- Evans NA, Bowrey DJ, Newman GR (1998) Ultrastructural analysis of ruptured tendon from anabolic steroid users. Injury, 29:769-773.
2: Marqueti RC, Prestes J, Paschoal M, Ramos OH, Perez SE, Carvalho HF, Selistre-de-Araujo HS (2008) Matrix metallopeptidase 2 activity in tendon regions: effects of mechanical loading exercise associated to anabolic-androgenic steroids, Eur J Appl Physiol, 104:1087-1093.
3: Marqueti RC, Prestes J, Wang CC, Ramos OH, Perez SE, Nakagaki WR, Carvalho HF, Selistre-de-Araujo HS (2010). Biomechanical responses of different rat tendons to nandrolone decanoate and load exercise. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 29.
4: Marqueti RC, Parizotto NA, Chriguer RS, Perez SEA, Selistre-de-Araujo HS (2006) Androgenic-anabolic steroids associated with mechanical loading inhibit matrix metallopeptidase activity and affect the remodeling of the Achilles tendon in rats. Am J Sport Med, 34:1274-1280.
5: Oikarinen A, Autio P, Vuori J, Va¨a¨na¨nen K, Risteli L, Kiistala U, Risteli J (1992) Systemic glucocorticoid treatment decreases serum concentrations of carboxyterminal propeptide of type I procollagen and aminoterminal propeptide of type III procollagen. Br J Dermatol, 126:172-178.
6: Marqueti RC, Heinemeier KM, Durigan JL, de Andrade Perez SE, Schjerling P, Kjaer M, Carvalho HF, Selistre-de-Araujo HS. Erratum to: Gene expression in distinct regions of rat tendons in response to jump training combined with anabolic androgenic steroid administration. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2011 Sep 8.
7: Papaspiliopoulos A, Papaparaskeva K, Papadopoulou E, Feroussis J, Papalois A, Zoubos A. The effect of local use of nandrolone decanoate on rotator cuff repair in rabbits. J Invest Surg, 2010 Aug;23(4):204-7.
8: Heinemeier KM, Olesen JL, Schjerling P, Hassad F, Langberg H, Baldwin KM, Kjaer M (2007b) Short-term strength training and the expression of myostatin and IGF-1 isoforms in rat muscle and tendon: differential effects of specific contraction types. J Appl Physiol, 102:573-581.