Abuse of anabolic steroids (androgens) by athletes is of increasing concern to society. It is estimated that one million athletes in this country may use or abuse androgens. The effects of these massive doses of androgens on the brain have not been studied. The long-term goal of these studies is to gain insight into the actions of steroids of abuse on the central nervous system. The following specific aims are proposed. 1. Determination of effects of physiological and pharmacological levels of natural and synthetic androgens on neuropeptide gene expression in different brain regions and in the pituitary. 2. Determination of whether the effects of pharmacological levels of synthetic androgens are mediated through androgen receptors, estrogen receptors, glucocorticoid receptors and/or opiate receptors. 3. Examination of the neuroendocrine effects of pharmacological levels of synthetic androgens. 4. Development of antibodies to the androgen receptor. 5. Use of antibodies to the androgen receptor for localization and characterization of neurons with androgen receptor immunoreactivity. 6. Examination of the possibility that pharmacological levels of synthetic androgens regulate brain or pituitary levels of receptors for androgen, estrogen, progesterone, or glucocorticoids. Methods include a) determination of neuropeptide mRNA levels by filter and in situ hybridization, b) determination of circulating hormone levels by radioimmunoassay, c) characterization of antibodies by Western blots, immunoprecipitation and immunocytochemistry, d) characterization of neurons with androgen receptor immunoreactivity by double immunocytochemistry, e) determination of steroid receptor immunoreactivity levels by ELISA. These studies should provide essential information on effects of abused androgens on the rat brain, and thus may serve as a guide to further investigations into actions of these steroids on the human nervous system.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Drug Abuse Biomedical Research Review Committee (DABR)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Tulane University
Schools of Medicine
New Orleans
United States
Zip Code
Harlan, R E; Brown, H E; Lynch, C S et al. (2000) Androgenic-anabolic steroids blunt morphine-induced c-fos expression in the rat striatum: possible role of beta-endorphin. Brain Res 853:99-104
Brown, H E; Garcia, M M; Harlan, R E (1998) A two focal plane method for digital quantification of nuclear immunoreactivity in large brain areas using NIH-image software. Brain Res Brain Res Protoc 2:264-72
Heimer, L; Harlan, R E; Alheid, G F et al. (1997) Substantia innominata: a notion which impedes clinical-anatomical correlations in neuropsychiatric disorders. Neuroscience 76:957-1006
Heimer, L; Alheid, G F; de Olmos, J S et al. (1997) The accumbens: beyond the core-shell dichotomy. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 9:354-81
Menard, C S; Hebert, T J; Dohanich, G P et al. (1995) Androgenic-anabolic steroids modify beta-endorphin immunoreactivity in the rat brain. Brain Res 669:255-62
Harlan, R E; Garcia, M M (1995) Charting of Jun family member proteins in the rat forebrain and midbrain: immunocytochemical evidence for a new Jun-related antigen. Brain Res 692:1-22
Lucas, L R; Harlan, R E (1995) Cholinergic regulation of tachykinin- and enkephalin-gene expression in the rat striatum. Brain Res Mol Brain Res 30:181-95
Garcia, M M; Brown, H E; Harlan, R E (1995) Alterations in immediate-early gene proteins in the rat forebrain induced by acute morphine injection. Brain Res 692:23-40
Song, D D; Harlan, R E (1994) Genesis and migration patterns of neurons forming the patch and matrix compartments of the rat striatum. Brain Res Dev Brain Res 83:233-45
Huang, X; Harlan, R E (1994) Androgen receptor immunoreactivity in somatostatin neurons of the periventricular nucleus but not in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in male rats. Brain Res 652:291-6

Showing the most recent 10 out of 17 publications