Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 124, Issue 2, pp 167–175 | Cite as

Skeletal muscle morphology in power-lifters with and without anabolic steroids

  • Anders Eriksson
  • Fawzi Kadi
  • Christer Malm
  • Lars-Eric Thornell
Original paper


The morphological appearance of the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle from high-level power-lifters on long-term anabolic steroid supplementation (PAS) and power-lifters never taking anabolic steroids (P) was compared. The effects of long- and short-term supplementation were compared. Enzyme-immunohistochemical investigations were performed to assess muscle fiber type composition, fiber area, number of myonuclei per fiber, internal myonuclei, myonuclear domains and proportion of satellite cells. The PAS group had larger type I, IIA, IIAB and IIC fiber areas (p<0.05). The number of myonuclei/fiber and the proportion of central nuclei were significantly higher in the PAS group (p<0.05). Similar results were seen in the trapezius muscle (T) but additionally, in T the proportion of fibers expressing developmental myosin isoforms was higher in the PAS group compared to the P group. Further, in VL, the PAS group had significantly larger nuclear domains in fibers containing ≥5 myonuclei. The results of AS on VL morphology in this study were similar to previously reported short-term effects of AS on VL. The initial effects from AS appear to be maintained for several years.


Satellite Cell Fiber Type Anabolic Steroid Trapezius Muscle Vastus Lateralis Muscle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Margareta Enerstedt, Mona Lindström and Lena Carlsson for excellent technical assistance. This study was supported by grants from the Swedish National Centre for research in sports (90/98, 79/99), the Swedish Research Council (12X-03934) and the Medical faculty of Umeå University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Eriksson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Fawzi Kadi
    • 4
  • Christer Malm
    • 1
    • 5
  • Lars-Eric Thornell
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Section for AnatomyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Health Care, Section for Medical ScienceLuleå UniversityBodenSweden
  3. 3.Department of musculoskeletal ResearchGävle UniversityGävleSweden
  4. 4.Department of Physical Education and HealthÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden
  5. 5.WinternetLuleå universityBodenSweden

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