The researchers examined data in two muscles: the vastus lateralis, found in the quadriceps, and the trapezius, a part of the shoulder-neck muscle. Each muscle is key to power lifting.
Three groups were examined. One group was comprised of seven power lifters who had previously used anabolic steroids for long periods of time but stopped their usage some years ago (PREV). One group was currently power lifting but did not use steroids (P). The third group was power lifting and taking steroids (PAS). The researchers examined muscle fiber distribution, fiber area, subsarcolemmal and internal myonuclei number per fiber, myonuclei expressing androgen receptors, satellite cell numbers per fiber, and proportion of split fibers in each muscle for each individual.
The researchers found that several years after anabolic steroid withdrawal, and with no or low current strength-training, the muscle fiber area intensity, the number of nuclei per fiber in the quadriceps was still comparable to that of athletes that were currently performing high intensity strength-training. They also discovered that the shoulder-neck fiber areas were comparable to high-intensity trained athletes and the number of nuclei per fiber was even higher than found in the current steroid-using group.
According to the lead researcher, Dr. Eriksson, "It is possible that the high number of nuclei we found in the muscle might be beneficial for an athlete who continues or resumes strength training because increased myonuclei opens up the possibility of increasing protein synthesis, which can lead to muscle mass." He added, "Based on the characteristics between doped and non
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American Physiological Society