Structural Biochemistry/Testosterone and the Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid (AASs)

Steroids are made up of many steroid rings, in which these rings consists of a combination of "one 5 carbon ring, and 3 six carbon rings" (Cholesterol being the primary structure), (Kishner, page 1). Steroids comprise of all the form acquired from the basic ring structure, one of them being testosterone and the anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs).

Trimethyl steroid-nomenclature

How It WorksEdit

Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone, a driving force responsible for male characteristics like muscle growth, facial hair, voice deepening. As the body absorbs testosterone in the body, it fits into the receptor sites of cells and activates the cells. After the testosterone molecule enters the cell, protein synthesis and phosphate synthesis is significantly increased due to the addition of RNA polymerase. Phosphate synthesis allows for the production of additional creatine phosphate, which allows for greater amount of work in the absence of oxygen while an increased protein synthesis allows for increased transcription. Anabolic steroids also lead to greater nitrogen retention in the body. A positive nitrogen balance in the body is needed for muscle production since a negative nitrogen balance is created when strenuous forced is applied on the body. Since the body only produces about 2-10mg of testosterone per day and most AAS abusers use up to 1000mg of testosterone a week, it become very significant in its affect in muscle growth.


Depo-testosterone 200 mg ml crop

The human's main hormone that makes the androgenic (a compound that is made up of other compounds), which administer the growth and nurturing of the distinct male characteristics. It is a significant hormone because it help restore the health of tissues, and supply muscle mass (anabolic: represents testosterone and dihydrotestosterone). Therefore, both the ability of androgenic and anabolic gives testosterone a double action mechanism.

Throughout the years, biochemists have been trying to convert and adjust testosterone structure to make medications that can either be taken orally, or have a different breakdown when dissolved into the body, or even better, a drug that can do both. After many years of researching, scientists have come to the conclusion that by substituting and changing certain portion of the testosterone molecule, it may have a big impact on the effect; but unfortunately, it has not yet been discovered.



Testosterone and the anabolic-androgenic steroids have been use as treatments for these diseases:

  • Many types of anemia
  • HIV wasting syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Severe burns
  • Acute and chronic burns
  • Malnutrition, weight loss
  • Short stature
  • Primary or secondary hypogonadism

(Stephen Kishner, page 1)

Although it has been used properly by some, many others have misused the drug for other purposes, such as to boost their normal anabolic and androgenic ability with the intension to better their physical image and strength.

AbuGnost anabolic steroids GHB poppers 080810 48

Biochemistry and Pharmacology aspectEdit


To improve the AAS research, biochemists have created an objective to alter the molecules to be "more anabolic and less androgenic" than testosterone, in which makes it possible to take orally, and have a reduce effect on the HPG axis (Stephen Kishner, page 3). According to an article called, Anabolic Steroids Use and Abuse, by Stephen Kishner, "AASs is developed from 3 compounds: testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and 19-nortestosterone", (Kishner, page 3). (Testosterone and 19-nortestosterone is a very similar compound, very much alike except 19-nortestpsterone doesn't include the 19th carbon).

The earliest changes made to the compound was on the 17th carbon, by adding a methyl/ethyl group. This modification expand the half life of the drug and therefore, allowing the medication to be active and can be taken orally.



Although the revision was helpful in some ways, it also had consequences because this new compound was not exactly like the original. Due to the methyl/ethyl group added to the compound, liver stain was found as a result of the transformation. In addition, all of the carbon-17 added compound was effected, and caused chemical damages to the liver.(source needed)

Stain - liver tissue

Target Organs and Psychological EffectsEdit

  • CNS: increases libido, well-being, aggression, and spatial cognition
  • Hypothalamus/Pituitary Gland: decrease GnRH, LH, FSH, increase GH
  • Liver: decrease SHBG, HDL
  • Larynx: lower voice
  • Breast development
  • Kidney: increase erythropoietin

Genitals: increase development, spermatogenesis, erections

  • Prostate: increase in size, secretions
  • Skin: increase facial/ body hair, sebum production
  • Bone: increase BMD
  • Muscle: increase lean mass, strength
  • Adipose Tissue: increase lipolysis, decrease abdominal fat
  • Blood: increase hematocrit
  • Immune system: increase autoantibody production


Kishner, Stephen. "Anabolic Steroid Use and Abuse." Medscape. Emedicine, 6 July 2011. Web. 13 Dec. 2011.

Auchus, Richard J. MD, PhD. "The Science Of Anabolic Steroid Abuse." Web. 20 Oct, 2012

Images: Wiki-Media Commons