Testosterone propionate, sold under the brand name Testoviron among others, is an androgen and anabolic steroid(AAS) medication that is used mainly in the treatment of low testosterone levels in men. Anabolic androgenic steroids(AAS) were originally developed in the late 1930s and used since 1950s to improve athletic performance, male physical attractiveness and improves body image for both sexes. Athletes use AAS to increase strength, lean body mass, and, in some cases, improve physical appearance. Accordingly, AAS increase body weight, fat-free mass, muscle size and strength training in healthy men receiving 600 mg of testosterone weekly for 10 weeks[3-5]. In the absence of strength training the muscle size is increased by higher doses of AAS[3,4].
Figure 1 the chemical structure of testosterone propionate;
Testosterone propionate is often used for muscle mass building. The original medical indication is for the treatment of androgen deficiency in male adults either in hypogonadism or andropaus. Nowadays testosterone propionate is indicated for its use in heifers in order to stimulate maximal growth.
Hypogonadism(the late puberty and premature termination of adolescent growth, some types of impotence) is the most common indication for AAS therapy in men. At present, The United States Food and Drug Administration(FDA) approved clinical use of AAS for treatment of hypogonadism, anemia accompanying renal and bone marrow failure, endometriosis, cancer and wasting syndrome in human immunodeficiency virus infection[8,9]. The other clinical uses of AAS include treatment of catabolic states and cachexia(i.e chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), corticosteroid therapy, osteoporosis, growth stimulation in male puberty, prophylaxis for hereditary angioedema, hepatic disease, and female to male transsexualism, hypoplastic anemia, multiple sclerosis, sexual dysfunction and depression.
Testosterone is also available in several different pharmaceutical formulations and is recommended for use in veterinary medicine to treat chronic wasting conditions and improve appetite and physical appearance. In addition, veterinary compounding pharmacies offer for sale numerous testosterone ester preparations in oil and testosterone suspension in aqueous vehicle[10-12].
The administration of testosterone propionate can induce production of proteins related to male sexual development. On the other hand, testosterone itself present an estrogenic activity due to interaction with aromatase enzyme, thus the continuous administration of testosterone propionate may cause the elevation of plasma estrogen. Clinical trials showed as well, a decrease in plasma LH after testosterone propionate administration.
Mode of action
Anabolic steroids are thought to exert their actions by several different mechanisms. These mechanisms include modulating androgen receptor expression as a consequence of[i] intracellular metabolism and by[ii] directly affecting the topology of the androgen receptor and thus subsequent interaction with co-activators and transcriptional activity. Other mechanisms include[iii] an anticatabolic effect by interfering with glucocorticoid receptor expression; and[iv] by non-genomic, as well as by genomic pathways, in the CNS resulting in behavioural changes. These mechanisms are discussed herein. Free testosterone[T] is transported into the cytoplasm of target tissue cells, further binding to the androgen receptor, or being reduced to 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone(DHT) by the cytoplasmic enzyme 5alpha-reductase. The binding areas are called hormone response elements(HREs), and influence transcriptional activity of certain genes, producing the androgen effects.[14-16]
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