Oxandrolone protects against the development of multiorgan failure, modulates the systemic inflammatory response and promotes wound healing during burn injury

Akbar Ahmad, David N. Herndon, Csaba Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Oxandrolone is a synthetic oral non-aromatizable testosterone derivative. This drug has been used successfully for several decades to safely treat growth delays in various diseases including Turner's syndrome. Currently the use of oxandrolone is under clinical testing in children with burn injury; the available data indicate that the anabolic steroid increases net muscle protein balance, maintains lean body mass, and reduces intensive care unit stay. Although oxandrolone is already in clinical trials in burn patients, preclinical burn-related studies with oxandrolone – especially those that go beyond muscle-related parameters and focus on burn-associated organ dysfunction, inflammatory response and wound healing – remain to be conducted. In the current project, using a well-characterized murine model of third-degree burn, we have tested the effect of oxandrolone on indices of organ injury, clinical chemistry parameters and plasma levels of inflammatory mediators. In oxandrolone-treated mice (1 mg/kg/day for up to 21 days) there was a significant amelioration of burn-induced accumulation of myeloperoxidase levels in heart and lung (but not the liver and kidney) and significantly lower degree of malon dialdehyde accumulation in the liver (but not the heart, lung and kidney). Oxandrolone-treated mice showed a significant attenuation of the burn-induced elevation in circulating alkaline aminotransferase and amylase levels, while blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels remained unaffected, indicative of protective effects of the anabolic hormone against burn-induced hepatic and pancreatic (but not renal) functional impairment. Multiple burn-induced inflammatory mediators (TNF-α, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, IP-10, G-CSF, GM-CSF and interferon-γ) were significantly lower in the plasma of oxandrolone-treated animals after burn injury than in the plasma of controls subjected to burns. Finally, oxandrolone significantly accelerated burn wound healing. We conclude that oxandrolone improves organ function, modulates the systemic inflammatory response and accelerates wound healing in a murine model of burn injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-681
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Anabolic steroids
  • Angiogenesis
  • Burns
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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