Several side effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) administration associated with training are reported in the biomechanical properties of the calcaneal tendon (CT) of rats. Thus, the aim of the present study is to evaluate the effects of the detraining and discontinuation of AAS administration on the CT morphology of rats submitted to exercise in water. Animals were divided into two groups (20/group): (1) Immediately after training (IA), and (2) Six weeks of detraining and AAS discontinuation (6W). The IA group included four subgroups: Sedentary (S), Trained (T), Sedentary with AAS administration (SAAS), and trained with AAS administration (TAAS). The 6W group included four subgroups: Sedentary (6W-S), six weeks of detrained (6W-T), six weeks of sedentary with AAS discontinuation (6W-SAAS), and six weeks of detrained with AAS discontinuation (6W-TAAS). Data show significant reduction in adipose cells volume density (Vv%) in the distal CT in 6W-TAAS group, indicating that training can exert a positive effect on the tendon. The 6W-SAAS group exhibited increased adipose cells Vv% in the distal region, compared with the W6-S and W6-T groups. A decrease in tendon proper cells Vv% and in peritendinous sheath cells Vv% of proximal and distal regions was also observed. In 6W-TAAS group showed increase in adipose cells, blood vessels, peritendinous sheath cells, and tendon proper cells Vv% in the distal region of the CT. The vertical jumps in water were not able to protect CT regions from the negative effects of AAS discontinuation for six weeks. However, after detraining and AAS discontinuation, many protective factors of the mechanical load in the long-term could be observed.
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