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Anabolic androgenic steroids induce micronuclei in buccal mucosa cells of bodybuilders


Objective: To evaluate genotoxicity of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) in male bodybuilders by a micronucleus assay in buccal mucosa cells.

Methods: 11 male bodybuilders volunteered to participate in this study and two groups were formed: group 1 (n = 6), without AAS consumption and group 2 (n = 5), with AAS consumption. A sample of buccal epithelium was taken from each participant once a week for 6 weeks. Samples were fixed, stained and analysed by a light microscope, and 2000 cells were counted from each slide. Results are expressed as micronucleated cells (MNC) per 1000 cells and were analysed by the Mann–Whitney U test and Wilcoxon’s test.

Results: A marked increased in MNC was seen in bodybuilders with AAS consumption compared with those without AAS consumption (mean (SD) 4.1 (2.4) MNC/1000 cells vs 0.4 (0.4) MNC/1000 cells, respectively; p<0.004). Intragroup comparisons showed no differences in the MNC frequencies during the sampling time in group 1, whereas the MNC frequency in group 2 varied significantly, reaching the highest MNC frequencies in the third and fourth week of sampling (5.9 (2.4) MNC/1000 cells; 5.8 (1.8) MNC/1000 cells, respectively); frequency in the first sampled week was 1.1 (0.1) MNC/1000 cells. Significant differences in all sampled weeks were found between the two groups.

Conclusion: AAS consumption increased the frequency of MNC from buccal mucosa in bodybuilders.

  • micronuclei
  • buccal mucosa cells
  • bodybuilders
  • genotoxicity
  • anabolic androgenic steroids

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