Anabolic steroids are one of the most prevalent ergogenic agents used to improve athlete performance. According to Mazzeo (2018), androgen steroids act by binding to a receptor in the cytoplasm and migrating to the nucleus to increment the activity of RNA polymerase, thereby increasing the production of RNA and proteins. Ergogenic substances, therefore, boost the athletes’ tolerance and performance by improving muscle mass (Mazzeo, 2018). Unfortunately, these doping agents have been associated with serious health effects, including insulin resistance and infertility in men.
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Androgen-based anabolic steroids are a form of exogenous testosterone administered orally or intramuscularly. They negatively inhibit the hypothalamic-pituitary pathway, which lowers the release of GnRH (NIH, 2018). This leads to low serum concentrations of LH and FSH and reduced sperm production.
Sperms are unique cells owing to their specialized structures and location. They are located in immune-privileged sites where autoimmune cells cannot attack them. Additionally, they have distinct features like haploid genetic material, abundant mitochondria, and acrosomes containing lytic enzymes (NIH, 2018).
Sperms are heterogametic, a characteristic feature that determines whether a fetus will be male or female. Nearly half of the sperms produced contain the Y chromosome, while the remainder possesses the X chromosome (NIH, 2018). Fertilization of the homogametic ovum (X chromosome) by sperm with Y chromosome results in a male fetus, while fusion with a sperm containing X chromosome results in a female zygote (NIH, 2018).
Male and females have several analogous reproductive structures, for example, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and granulosa cells in women but sperms, epididymis, and interstitial cells in men. Analogous structures offer a better understanding of the embryogenesis of male and female reproductive systems.
Mazzeo, F. (2018). Anabolic steroid use in sports and in physical activity: Overview and Analysis. Sport Mont, 16(3), 113–118. Web.
NIH. (2018). What are the side effects of anabolic steroid misuse? Drugabuse.gov. Web.
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