Androgenic properties of the dietary supplement 5α-hydroxy-laxogenin

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Dietary supplements sold for anabolic benefits or performance enhancement often contain substances, which are non-approved and might lack quality controls. With regard to athletes, the inclusion of substances or methods in the prohibited list of the World Anti-Doping Agency is based on medical or scientific evidence. 5α-hydroxy-laxogenin is a synthetic spirostane-type steroid, which is contained in dietary supplements and advertised as anabolic agent. To date, evidence is missing on anabolic or androgenic activity of 5α-hydroxy-laxogenin. We investigated its androgenic potential in two in vitro bioassays. While no activity was observed in the yeast androgen screen, 5α-hydroxy-laxogenin was able to trans-activate the androgen receptor in human prostate cells in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, a biphasic response was observed with antagonistic properties at lower concentrations and agonistic effects at higher concentrations tested. The demonstrated androgenic properties of the higher concentrations demonstrate that further investigations should focus on the safety as well as on potential anabolic effects of 5α-hydroxy-laxogenin. This is of interest with regard to abuse for doping purposes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2139-2142
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of toxicology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85127293117
unpaywall 10.1007/s00204-022-03283-5
Mendeley e353ee10-1072-3336-9f2e-b26830c07432
WOS 000773845200001
ORCID /0000-0002-2157-4711/work/142251660


DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards


  • 5α-hydroxy-laxogenin, Androgen receptor, Dietary supplements, PC3(AR) cells, Yeast androgen screen, PC3(AR)(2) cells, 5 alpha-hydroxy-laxogenin, Anabolic Agents/toxicity, Humans, Male, Androgens/toxicity, Testosterone Congeners, Dietary Supplements, Spirostans/pharmacology, Doping in Sports, Steroids

Library keywords