The question has recently been raised whether the use of anabolic steroids by athletes is associated with alterations in immune functions. A number of reports suggest that large dosages of anabolic steroids decrease lymphocyte count and produce significant changes in the function of certain leukocytes.
However, most data are only related to subjects involved for a relatively short period of time with high dosages of anabolic steroids and there is a lack of information about the effects on normal subjects without predisposition to diseases.
To examine this question we studied lymphocyte subsets, CD4/CD8 ratio, IgG subclasses and the proliferative response of peripheral blood lymphocytes to dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) before and after administration of weekly intramuscular injections of 300 mg testosterone enanthate for 10 weeks.
Significant decreases in absolute numbers of T cells from 4500-5000 per mm3 to less than 3000 per mm3 occurred as a consequence of steroid treatment. The percentage of both helper T cells (T4) and suppressor T cells (T8) fell significantly buy trt from 12.0 to 8.4% and from 22.5 to 14.1%, respectively.
Detailed analysis of T cells by monoclonal antibody staining revealed that the decrease in absolute numbers was due mainly to a significant fall in the number of both mature (CD3) and immature (CD2d) T cells, whereas the number of centroblasts did not change significantly after steroid administration.
The percentage of B cells remained unchanged during treatment but their absolute numbers fell significantly from 9000 per mm3 before treatment to 6100 per mm3 after it. Steroid administration also caused significant decreases in serum levels of IgG1, IgM, IgA, total IgE, and lysozyme but did not alter lymphocyte mitogenic responses to phytohemagglutinin or lymphocyte transformation responses to phorbol myristate acetate.
Contrasting analysis of lymphocytes
In contrast, a similar analysis of lymphocytes from a group of age-matched control subjects who had never used anabolic steroids but were comparable in general health and physical activity level to the steroid users did not reveal any significant changes in absolute numbers or percentage distribution of T cells or B cells, serum levels of IgG subclasses, total IgE and lysozyme.
Our data indicate that long-term moderate dosage administration of testosterone enanthate results in profound depression in T cell function without altering other immunological parameters. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that the use by athletes of small amounts of steroids would have no immunologic consequences.
Subjects were 10 male weight lifters (aged 20-35 yr) who used steroids and 12 age-matched controls (aged 19-38 yr). All subjects lived and worked in the same environment. There was no difference between the two groups with respect to physical training, life habits, or other parameters related to the possible detrimental effect of steroids or immunological response to dianabol tablets stress.
It is difficult to correlate our study results directly with those previously published by others since different dosages and modes of administration as well as different populations of steroid users have been employed. It seems clear, however, that suppression of T cell function occurs under certain conditions following the administration of anabolic steroids. The degree of suppression may vary according to the dosage used, duration of treatment, age, physical training, and other parameters.
The clinical significance of the steroid-induced suppression of T cell function is not yet clear. It should also be emphasized that a decrease below normal values in absolute numbers of B cells was observed without any change in percentage distribution or other immunological parameters. This could indicate a smaller number of germinal centers as well as defects in circulating antibody-producing cells which might render subjects vulnerable to infections if they lived under unfavorable conditions such as those experienced during severe physical exercise or sepsis for example.
Do steroids also have immunosuppressive properties?
Buy Steroids UK can have immunosuppressive properties when used for an extended period at high doses. In the study, testosterone enanthate was administered daily by injection to achieve a constant dosage level. The T cell population was found to decrease significantly after steroid administration.
B cell populations were not affected significantly by steroid use, perhaps because they are short-lived cells that do not depend on “homeostatic maintenance,” unlike T cells which require a certain amount of stimulation in order to maintain their numbers in circulation (and also do not depend on homeostatic maintenance).
There was no change in the number of B cells present, but there was a decrease in the amount of immunoglobulin being produced by each B cell. This suggests that steroid administration induces an effect on antibody production which is separate from that which affects T cells.
The implications are still unclear for athletes using moderate amounts of steroids over short periods. It has been claimed anecdotally that when steroids are stopped, current steroid users can become susceptible to infections because their immune systems have been compromised during steroid use.
However, this single study has yet to be confirmed or followed up in scientific literature. It must be remembered that the study used high doses and very long-term exposure to steroids, so it cannot be applied to moderate use of anabolics for short periods. It does, however, contain some very interesting information about the effect steroids have on the immune system.
Enanthate has a longer half-life than cypionate and is far more widely used in bodybuilding circles simply because it’s easier to obtain – less oil is needed per injection so one amp produces more doses than two with cypionate resulting in cost savings at source – there’s also less pain associated with injection compared to enanthate which is another reason for its popularity with users although both are very similar in their effect of course.
It can therefore be concluded that moderate dosage administration over several weeks has profound effects on T cell populations and serum levels of IgG subclasses but does not alter other immunological parameters such as DTH response, the mitogenic response of lymphocytes, and lymphocyte transformation. This may be due to the fact that the steroids did not affect all immune functions in a uniform way but rather caused selective changes in humoral and cellular function.