Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

B. Don Franks


Treatment with androgens and anabolic steroids in conditions of high bone turnover seen in osteoporotic postmenopausal females has resulted in bone density improvement. Research has demonstrated a link between muscle mass and bone due to the mechanical demands placed on bone by muscular contractile force associated with physical activity. This study examined whether treatment with a synthetic anabolic steroid, 30 mg. of nandrolone decanoate every two weeks, or placebo increased lean mass, cross-sectional area of thigh muscle and muscle torque production while preserving bone mineral density (BMD) in 18 dieting, sedentary, obese, postmenopausal females not on estrogen replacement therapy. Obesity has been associated with greater BMD, however, previous work has suggested weight loss can precipitate the occurrence of a decline in BMD. Data that were collected included 24-hour urinary calcium and phosphorus:creatinine ratios, serum osteocalcin, parathyroid hormone, total alkaline phosphatase and 25(OH) D$\sb3.$ Additionally, BMD and content (BMC) were measured in the lumbar spine and bilateral forearms with dual emission x-ray absorptiometry. Subjects treated with nandrolone (n = 8) demonstrated a significant treatment by time increase in lean body mass with a concomitant decline in % body fat, non-significant increase in muscle thigh volume, no significant change in fat mass and a non-significant decline in lumbar BMD at six months. Isokinetic muscle testing demonstrated significant increases in torque production and total work of the upper extremities and to a lesser extent the lower extremities torque. Non-significant decreases in weight and body mass index occurred. Overall, there were no effects of treatment on bone turnover. The small changes in % body fat, lean mass and torque did not have any effects on bone status. No changes occurred in total fat mass, therefore decline in % BF occurred only due to increases in lean mass. Addition of exercise training to nandrolone treatment might have enhanced the increases in lean mass and strength, as well as fat mass loss, facilitating a greater strain-related stimulation for bone formation. Further research on BMD of postmenopausal women undergoing weight loss is indicated since they are at high risk for bone loss.