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Single deca injection causes genetic damage in animal test

Since the arrival of effective anastrazole and tamoxifen, chemical athletes have taken to using testosterone instead of nandrolone decanoate the active ingredient in Deca-Durabolin. Testosterone is considerably safer than nandrolone, especially at higher doses, chemical athletes have noticed. A soon-to-be-published animal study has proved them correct. According to the research, the results of which will be published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, nandrolone damages genetic material.

Hundreds of thousands of people use nandrolone, but we still don't know an awful lot about this anabolic steroid. In the fifties and sixties, when nandrolones first appeared on the market, pharmaceutical companies didn't do as much research on the side effects of their medicines as they do now.

Brazilian researchers at the Universidade Estadual Paulista wanted to know whether nandrolone causes damage to genes. Estradiol, a steroid that bears similarities to nandrolone, does do this. So, the Brazilians' reasoned, nandrolone decanoate [structural formula shown below] may do the same.

The Brazilians injected male mice once with Deca-Durabolin. The mice got 1, 2.5 or 5 mg per kg bodyweight of nandrolone decanoate. One control group was given a groundnut oil injection, another got doxorubicin, a substance that is toxic to cells and is used in chemotherapy.

Nandrolone decanoate
The entire experiment consisted of a single injection. After that the researchers took cell samples from the mice and examined the amount of damage to the DNA.

The results of the Comet Assay are shown below. A Comet Assay is a way of 'decombining' DNA using electric fields. The easier this is, the worse DNA is damaged. The higher the score, the greater the damage.

Single deca injection causes genetic damage in animal test

Single deca injection causes genetic damage in animal test

Another test the Brazilians used was the Micronucleus Test, the results of which are shown above. The Micronucleus Test involves counting 'wrong' nuclei in cells [MNCPE]. Cells exposed to genotoxic substances sometimes make an extra nucleus when they divide. The more extra cell nuclei the researchers see, the greater the genotoxic effect of the substance.

Cells can repair genetic damage. If they don't manage to do this, cells can self-destruct or immune cells clear up the deviant cells. But sometimes, if none of these mechanisms work, a damaged cell will turn into a cancer cell. Whether this can also happen if you use nandrolone decanoate, the Brazilians don't know. 'Carcinogenic' is a couple of steps further than 'genotoxic'. With this 'caveat' in mind, the researchers advise caution.

"Since a number of different types of mutations are involved in cancer etiology or other genetic diseases, we recommend great caution in the acute or chronic administration of nandrolone", they write. "Careful consideration of the risks vs benefits needs to be carried out before it is used in the human population."

J Appl Toxicol. 2011 Jun 30. doi: 10.1002/jat.1701. [Epub ahead of print].