Date Published: January 28, 2019
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Astrid M. H. Horstman, Evelien M. P. Backx, Joey S. J. Smeets, Gabriel N. Marzuca-Nassr, Janneau van Kranenburg, Douwe de Boer, John Dolmans, Tim Snijders, Lex B. Verdijk, Lisette C. P. G. M. de Groot, Luc J. C. van Loon, David J. Handelsman.
A few days of bed rest or immobilization following injury, disease, or surgery can lead to considerable loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. It has been speculated that such short, successive periods of muscle disuse may be largely responsible for the age-related loss of muscle mass throughout the lifespan.
To assess whether a single intramuscular injection of nandrolone decanoate prior to immobilization can attenuate the loss of muscle mass and strength in vivo in humans.
Thirty healthy (22 ± 1 years) men were subjected to 7 days of one-legged knee immobilization by means of a full leg cast with (NAD, n = 15) or without (CON, n = 15) prior intramuscular nandrolone decanoate injection (200 mg).
Before and immediately after immobilization, quadriceps muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) (by means of single-slice computed tomography (CT) scans of the upper leg) and one-legged knee extension strength (one-repetition maximum [1-RM]) were assessed for both legs. Furthermore, muscle biopsies from the immobilized leg were taken before and after immobilization to assess type I and type II muscle fiber cross-sectional area.
Quadriceps muscle CSA decreased during immobilization in both CON and NAD (-6 ± 1% and -6 ± 1%, respectively; main effect of time P<0.01), with no differences between the groups (time × treatment interaction, P = 0.59). Leg muscle strength declined following immobilization (-6 ± 2% in CON and -7 ± 3% in NAD; main effect of time, P<0.05), with no differences between groups (time × treatment interaction, P = 0.55). This is the first study to report that nandrolone decanoate administration does not preserve skeletal muscle mass and strength during a short period of leg immobilization in vivo in humans.
Muscle disuse, such as forced upon following injury or during illness, can lead to substantial loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength and has numerous negative side effects. Most periods of muscle disuse tend to be of short duration, generally less than 7 days [1, 2]. Recently, it has been shown that even a few days of muscle disuse can lead to a substantial decline in both muscle mass as well as muscle strength . It has been speculated that such short successive periods of bed rest or immobilization may be responsible for the greater part of muscle mass that is lost throughout the lifespan [1, 4]. Obviously, effective exercise, nutritional and/or pharmaceutical strategies are required to prevent or attenuate skeletal muscle loss during such short, successive periods of muscle disuse .
In the present study, we demonstrated that a single intramuscular injection of nandrolone decanoate (200 mg) does not attenuate the decline in muscle mass and strength during 7 days of subsequent leg immobilization in healthy male adults.
Administration of a single bolus of nandrolone decanoate (200 mg) prior to a short period of disuse does not attenuate muscle mass or strength loss. This is the first study to report no preservation of skeletal muscle mass and strength following nandrolone decanoate administration during a short period of leg immobilization in vivo in humans.