When does anabolic steroids lead to heart disease?
Scientists are still struggling to determine the long-term effects of steroids on the cardiovascular system.
The National Institutes of Health is trying to determine whether they contribute to heart attacks and strokes.
But the evidence is murky.
And now, scientists are coming up with new ideas.
In a new study, scientists found that the body can process testosterone without altering the body’s natural hormone production.
They say this could have implications for how heart disease is prevented or treated.
Dr. John P. Breen is director of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the National Institutes for Health.
He said the new findings could help to answer questions about how testosterone can cause heart disease, such as how it might affect blood clotting and heart failure.
“The testosterone receptor gene is present in almost all animals, and it’s involved in the production of a number of hormones,” he said.
“This gene is expressed in a very wide range of tissues, so we’re interested in understanding how testosterone affects the whole body.”
The researchers are currently testing whether their findings apply to humans.
A key question, however, is how testosterone interacts with other hormones.
Berenstein said the study is just the first step.
Breen said the work suggests that some compounds like testosterone can interact with other substances, like prostaglandins and estrogen, that may influence heart function.
If that works out, it could open the door to developing drugs that target certain hormones and potentially improve cardiovascular health.
In addition to Preece, the research team included researchers from the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Harvard University.