Aggression in male rats receiving anabolic androgenic steroids: effects of social and environmental provocation
Breuer ME, McGinnis MY, Lumia AR, Possidente BP.
Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy,
Mount Sinai School of Medicine,
New York, NY 10029, USA.
Horm Behav 2001 Nov;40(3):409-18


This study examined the effects of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) on aggression under different social and environmental conditions. Three AAS were tested in gonadally intact male rats: testosterone propionate (TP), nandrolone (ND), and stanozolol (ST). Doses of 5 mg/kg were given 5 times/week, with gonadally intact controls receiving vehicle only (propylene glycol). Animals received six weekly tests under each condition in a counterbalanced order. Results show that the three AAS differed in their ability to elicit aggression. Males receiving TP were more aggressive than controls, ND males were similar to controls, and ST males were less aggressive than controls. In the social and environmental provocation tests TP-treated males were more aggressive than other groups, but were able to discriminate between intact and castrated opponents and between their home cage and a neutral cage. In the environmental provocation test, TP males were also more aggressive against opponents when tested in the opponent's home cage. It is suggested that chronic exposure to high levels of TP does not eliminate the ability to discriminate between social or environmental cues, as might be expected if it induces a " 'roid rage." However, TP does increase the likelihood that the animal will respond with aggression/dominance in a provoking situation. All three AAS variably affected serum testosterone and LH levels, as well as testes, seminal vesicle, and prostate weights. No effect on body weight was observed.

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