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Effect of anabolic steroid, IGF-1 and loading on expression of genes involved in collagen metabolism in bovine extensor tendon
  1. Sukhbir Bhullar,
  2. Kirsten Legerlotz, (Supervisor)
  1. Centre for Sport & Exercise Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK


Background Tendon ruptures have been linked to anabolic steroid usage, suggesting pathological changes in tendon structure due to steroid intake. Anecdotal reports from athletes suggest a protective effect of GH on tendon, especially in those who use anabolic steroids.

Aim To investigate how administration of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), anabolic steroid and combination of the two affect the expression of genes involved in collagen metabolism.

Methods Fascicles were harvested from bovine extensor tendons: n=4 to calculate optimal loading and n=8 to assess hormone plus optimal loading effect on eight genes involved in collagen metabolism. Total RNA was extracted and mRNA expression analysed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR, normalised to GAPDH and 18S ribosomal RNA±control (Con).

Results Maximal collagen expression occurred at 6 h of light exercise, following 1 h of heavy loading. One tendon failed to have RNA extracted and was therefore removed from the study (n=7). IL-6 expression was significantly higher than control when exercised fascicles were exposed to: (1) anabolic steroid (normalised to: 18S; GAPDH; 18S & Con and GAPDH & Con); (2) IGF-1 (normalised to: GAPDH; 18S & Con and GAPDH & Con); (3) Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium & PenStrep (normalised to: 18S & Con and GAPDH & Con) and (4) anabolic steroid & IGF-1 (normalised to: 18S & Con and GAPDH & Con).

Conclusion The results of this study suggest that tendon is an IL-6 producing region during exercise which may also contribute to IL-6 increases in plasma during exercise.

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