Brief exposure to performance-enhancing drugs may be permanently 'remembered' by muscles

October 27, 2013

Brief exposure to anabolic steroids may have long lasting, possibly permanent, performance-enhancing effects, shows a study published today [28 October] in The Journal of Physiology.

Previously, re-acquisition of muscle mass - with or without steroid use - after periods of inactivity has been attributed to motor learning. However, this new data from the University of Oslo suggests that there is a cellular 'memory mechanism' within muscle of brief steroid users.

The team investigated the effects of steroids on muscle re-acquisition in mice and discovered greater muscle mass and more myonuclei - which are essential components for muscle fibre function - were apparent after returning to exercise.

Professor Kristian Gundersen explains how they carried out the study and the results found:

"Mice were briefly exposed to steroids which resulted in increased muscle mass and number of cell nuclei in the muscle fibres. Three months after withdrawal of the drug (approximately 15% of a mouse's life span) their muscles grew by 30% over six days following load exercise. The untreated mice grew insignificantly."

The findings might have consequences for the exclusion time of doping offenders as brief exposure to anabolic steroids might have long lasting performance-enhancing effects.

Prof Gundersen says:

"The results in our mice may correspond to the effects of steroids lasting for decades in humans given the same cellular 'muscle memory' mechanism. The new results might spur a debate on the current World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code in which the maximum exclusion time is currently two years." Additionally, the data suggests that strength training when young might be beneficial later in life since the ability to generate new myonuclei is impaired in the elderly.

Future studies should include human muscles and further investigation into the cellular and molecular mechanism for muscle memory.
-end-


Wiley

Related Muscle Mass Articles from Brightsurf:

LED-based UV irradiation safely prevents the loss of bone and muscle mass in mice
A research team at Nagoya University has revealed that narrow-range ultraviolet (UV) irradiation using light emitting diodes (LEDs) safely increases serum vitamin D levels in aging mice and thereby prevents the loss of their bone and muscle mass.

Discovery of a new mass extinction
It's not often a new mass extinction is identified; after all, such events were so devastating they really stand out in the fossil record.

How vitamin C could help over 50s retain muscle mass
New research shows that vitamin C could help over 50s retain muscle mass in later life.

Physical activity in all of its forms may help maintain muscle mass in midlife
Loss of estrogen has an effect on muscles and leads to a decline in muscle mass.

Proximity of hospitals to mass shootings in US
Nontrauma center hospitals were the nearest hospitals to most of the mass shootings (five or more people injured or killed by a gun) that happened in the US in 2019.

Middle-aged muscle mass linked to future heart disease risk
The amount of lean muscle a healthy person has in middle age is linked to their future risk of heart disease, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

A mechanism capable of preserving muscle mass
By studying the young and aging muscles in mice, researchers from the Myology Research Center (Sorbonne Universite-Inserm) of the Institute of Myology identified a protein, CaVbeta1E that activates the factor GDF5.

Eyeballing a black hole's mass
There are no scales for weighing black holes. Yet astrophysicists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have devised a new way for indirectly measuring the mass of a black hole, while also confirming its existence.

Link between gut microbes & muscle growth suggests future approach to tackle muscle loss
Scientists led by NTU Singapore's Professor Sven Pettersson established a link between gut microbes and muscle growth and function -- a finding that could open new doors to interventions for age-related skeletal muscle loss.

Low muscle mass in arms and legs can heighten the mortality risk in older men and women
A study of individuals over 65 years old showed that all-cause mortality risk increased nearly 63-fold in women with low appendicular muscle mass.

Read More: Muscle Mass News and Muscle Mass Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.