Experiments in mice suggest effects don’t end when doping does
J.C. Bruusgaard/ University of Oslo
Steroids may continue to boost muscle-building capacity long after a person stops taking the drugs, a new study of mice suggests. The finding could mean that athletes who cheat by taking anabolic steroids should be suspended from competition for a decade or longer.
The research also suggests that building muscles in youth may have benefits that last into old age.
In the new study, researchers led by Kristian Gundersen, a physiologist at the University of Oslo, tested the effect of steroids on female mice. The team had previously shown that exercise builds new nuclei in muscle cells (SN: 9/11/10, p. 15). Nuclei are the cellular compartments where DNA is stored, and muscle cells typically have multiple nuclei. Increasing the number of nuclei gives muscles the capacity to build more proteins.