Endocrine Characterization of the Designer Steroid Methyl-1-Testosterone: Investigations on Tissue-Specific Anabolic-Androgenic Potency, Side Effects, and Metabolism

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Abstract

Various products containing rarely characterized anabolic steroids are nowadays marketed as dietary supplements. Herein, the designer steroid methyl-1-testosterone (M1T) (17β-hydroxy-17α-methyl-5α-androst-1-en-3-one) was identified, and its biological activity, potential adverse effects, and metabolism were investigated. The affinity of M1T toward the androgen receptor (AR) was tested in vitro using a yeast AR transactivation assay. Its tissue-specific androgenic and anabolic potency and potential adverse effects were studied in a Hershberger assay (sc or oral), and tissue weights and selected molecular markers were investigated. Determination of M1T and its metabolites was performed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry. In the yeast AR transactivation assay, M1T was characterized as potent androgen. In rats, M1T dose-dependently stimulated prostate and levator ani muscle weight after sc administration. Oral administration had no effect but stimulated proliferation in the prostate and modulated IGF-I and AR expression in the gastrocnemius muscle in a dose-dependent manner. Analysis of tyrosine aminotransferase expression provided evidence for a strong activity of M1T in the liver (much higher after oral administration). In rat urine, 17α-methyl-5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol, M1T, and a hydroxylated metabolite were identified. In humans, M1T was confirmed in urine in addition to its main metabolites 17α-methyl-5α-androst-1-ene-3α,17β-diol and 17α-methyl-5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol. Additionally, the corresponding 17-epimers as well as 17β-hydroxymethyl-17α-methyl-18-nor-5α-androsta-1,13-dien-3-one and its 17-epimer were detected, and their elimination kinetics was monitored. It was demonstrated that M1T is a potent androgenic and anabolic steroid after oral and sc administration. Obviously, this substance shows no selective AR modulator characteristics and might exhibit liver toxicity, especially after oral administration.

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