Clinical significance of androgen secretion disorders in men with a malignancy
The effects of treatment with a high dose of nandrolone or testosterone on nerve growth factor (NGF) levels and NGF low-affinity receptor (p75-NGFr) distribution in the brain were analyzed. Nandrolone, subcutaneously injected in rats for several weeks, caused an increase of NGF levels in the hippocampus and septum and a decrease in the hypothalamus. The number of p75-NGFr-immunoreactive neurons and the p75-NGFr expression levels were reduced in the septum and vertical and horizontal Broca's bands. Testosterone injections caused an increase of NGF levels in the hippocampus, septum, and occipital cortex and induced an upregulation of p75-NGFr in the forebrain NGF target regions. This testosterone effect suggests that nandrolone and testosterone affect brain NGF target cells by a different mechanism(s). Nandrolone may interfere with NGF transport and/or utilization by forebrain neurons, causing an altered p75-NGFr expression and NGF accumulation as a consequence. Since NGF is known to maintain forebrain neurons and to regulate neurobehavioral functions, including memory, learning, and defensive behavior, it is possible to hypothesize that this neurotrophin may play a role in the mechanism of action of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) in the brain and be associated with endocrine and behavioral dysfunctions occurring due to AAS abuse.