Cardio drugs protect heart against anabolic steroids
Researchers at the Claude Bernard University in France think they may have found a pharmacological technique that can protect steroids users against heart attacks. They will publish the results of an animal study they did soon in Cardiovascular Toxicology. These show that trimetazidine [structure shown below] and dexrazoxane [structure also shown below] prevent heavy doses of testosterone enanthate from damaging the heart muscle.
Even in France people are becoming more aware that steroids use is a factor (albeit a relatively small one) in the number of apparently healthy people who suddenly die from a heart attack each year. Some figures: in the region around Lyon, where two million people live, researchers counted 2250 cases of people dying suddenly from a heart attack in a period of 25 years. [Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2009 Jul;61(4):317-23.] In 120 cases an athlete was the victim, and in only 6 cases was evidence of steroid use noted.
Nevertheless the findings were interesting enough for the researchers to want to examine how steroids can cause a sudden fatal heart attack. In animal studies, in which rabbits were given the anabolic steroid norethandrolone, they found the usual effects. Steroids cause the left ventricle of the heart muscle to grow so fast that the organ no longer functions properly, and may go haywire, probably because the steroids make the heart super-sensitive to adrenalin. What's more, the researchers discovered that in heart cells there’s increased production of suicide enzymes – an indication that steroids could well be directly toxic to heart cells.
Nothing new here so far. Things change though when the researchers inject their steroid rabbits with new medicines, like trimetazidine for instance. This is sold as Vastarel in Europe. Trimetazidine forces heart cells to keep burning glucose and maintain their ATP levels. This is how trimetazidine protects heart cells against a shortage of oxygen, which is what happens if an important blood vessel gets blocked.
Another medicine that the French tried out was dexrazoxane. Dexrazoxane protects the heart cells against aggressive medicines, such as those prescribed during chemotherapy, and apparently also against antibiotics.
The protective effect of both these medicines was shown in the three-month long animal study. The rabbits' whose hearts were injected with testosterone enantate became damaged. Pieces of tissue withered and died, cells became deformed, immune cells invaded the heart muscle to clear up dead cells, and blood vessels clogged up. But this didn't happen in the rabbits that got trimetazidine and dexrazoxane.
Before you start experimenting with these cardio drugs though: we don't know much about trimetazidine en dexrazoxane. And we know nothing at all about how they react with androgens.
Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2009 May 12. [Epub ahead of print].
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