Cardiac cell turn over in users of AAS

There is strong evidence of an increased risk for cardiac hypertrophy in users of AAS. There is also evidence that, at the micro-level, cardiac muscle cells size increase. In contrast to previous belief, it has been found that there is a continuous slow formation of new cardiomyocytes in humans. This has led to the question if AAS can accelerate this process. Jonas Frisén’s research group at Karolinska Institutet has developed an elegant method to detect the formation of new cells. The method is based essentially on the measurement of radioactive carbon-14 in nuclear DNA. The cell carbon-14 activity is compared with the so-called bomb pulse curve, which shows the atmospheric concentration of carbon-14. Atmosphere carbon-14 is derived from nuclear tests during the Cold War and falls with constant speed. Therefore carbon-14 activity is lower in newly formed cells compared to older cells, e.g. those that are included from birth. The hypothesis is that AAS stimulates the formation of cardiomyocytes. MD Kanar Alkass linked to the Frisén research is the principal researcher of the study.