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Testosterone vs. nerve cells

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2007 - Winter


A study by Yale scientists has shown that a high level of testosterone—such as that caused by the use of steroids—can lead to the death of brain cells. “Next time a muscle-bound guy in a sports car cuts you off on the highway,” said senior author Barbara E. Ehrlich, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and cellular and molecular physiology, “don’t get mad, just take a deep breath and realize that it might not be his fault.”

Previous studies have shown that large doses of steroids can cause hyperexcitability, an aggressive nature and suicidal tendencies, which could mean alterations in neuronal function caused by the steroids. “In the present study we have demonstrated for the first time that the treatment of neuroblastoma cells with elevated concentrations of testosterone for relatively short periods, six to 12 hours, induces a decrease in cell viability by activation of a cell death program,” said Ehrlich, whose study appeared in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in September.

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