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Trenbolone may increase Alzheimer's risk

Bodybuilders who use the anabolic steroid trenbolone may be increasing their chances of developing Alzheimer's disease, fear molecular scientists Fucui Ma and Daicheng Liu of Shandong Normal University in China. Ma and Liu gave mice injections of trenbolone and saw almost immediate changes in the animals' brains that would give neurologists sleepless nights.

Your brain cells are able to retain information and process it because they are continuously making new connections with each other. The protein amyloid precursor protein [APP] plays an important role in this process. To be precise: APP is a type 1 trans-membrane protein.

Enzymes cut APP up into pieces, and if this process goes as it should your brain cells are doing what they're supposed to. But if the enzymes start to mess up because of faulty genes or dangerous environmental factors toxic pieces of protein are formed. The most risky of these is amyloid-beta-42, which accumulates in the brain, forming plaques and ultimately killing brain cells. The brains of people who have died of Alzheimer's contain large amounts of amyloid-beta-42, so most neurologists think that amyloid-beta-42 is the cause of Alzheimer's and related forms of dementia.

Testosterone and its metabolites estradiol and DHT offer protection against Alzheimer's. That's why Ma and Lui wondered what effect trenbolone has on the formation of amyloid-beta-42. They gave mice 5 injections of trenbolone over a 48-hour period. The human equivalent of the doses the researchers used would be about 0.85 mg per kg bodyweight.

The amyloid-beta-42 accumulated in the brains of the male rats. The graph below shows the results for the 48-hour period.

Trenbolone may increase Alzheimer's risk

Trenbolone may increase Alzheimer's risk

The Chinese also did experiments with brain cells that they exposed for 48 hours to 100 nanomol trenbolone [TB]. The addition of anti-androgens such as flutamine [Flu] reduced the amyloid-beta-42 accumulation. So brain damage caused by trenbolone is due to its androgenic effects.

A combination of trenbolone and DHT boosts the accumulation of amyloid-beta-42.

"Since damages of neurons may occur much earlier than the clinical symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders, exposure to trenbolone should be regarded as a high risk environmental factor in Alzheimer's disease onset", the researchers write. They argue in favour of more research.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015 Jan 1;282(1):68-76.

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