- The use of dehydroepiandrosterone therapy in clinical practice
Clinical trials suggest that 50mg of oral DHEA, but not <30mg, can increase serum androgen levels to within the physiologic range for young adults with primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency, possibly improve sexual function, improve mood and self-esteem, and decrease fatigue/exhaustion.
- The effect of six months treatment with a 100 mg daily dose of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on circulating sex steroids, body composition and muscle strength in age-advanced men and women
Biotransformation to potent androgens near and slightly above the range of their younger counterparts occurred in women with no detectable change in men. Given this hormonal milieu, an increase in serum IGF-I levels was observed in both genders but dimorphic responses were evident in fat body mass and muscle strength in favour of men. These differences in response to DHEA administration may reflect a gender specific response to DHEA and/or the presence of confounding factor(s) in women such as oestrogen replacement therapy.
- Replacement of DHEA in aging men and women. Potential remedial effects
DHEA in appropriate replacement doses appears to have remedial effects with respect to its ability to induce an anabolic growth factor, increase muscle strength and lean body mass, activate immune function, and enhance quality of life in aging men and women, with no significant adverse effects. Further studies are needed to confirm and extend our current results, particularly the gender differences
- Effects of replacement dose of dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women of advancing age
Aging in humans is accompanied by a progressive decline in the secretion of the adrenal androgens dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DS), paralleling that of the GH-insulin-like growth factor-I (GH-IGF-I) axis. Although the functional relationship of the decline of the GH-IGF-I system and catabolism is recognized, the biological role of DHEA in human aging remains undefined. To test the hypothesis that the decline in DHEA may contribute to the shift from anabolism to catabolism associated with aging, we studied the effect of a replacement dose of DHEA in 13 men and 17 women, 40-70 yr of age. A randomized placebo-controlled cross-over trial of nightly oral DHEA administration (50 mg) of 6-month duration was conducted. During each treatment period, concentrations of androgens, lipids, apolipoproteins, IGF-I, IGF-binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1), IGFBP-3, insulin sensitivity, percent body fat, libido, and sense of well-being were measured. A subgroup of men (n = 8) and women (n = 5) underwent 24-h sampling at 20-min intervals for GH determinations. DHEA and DS serum levels were restored to those found in young adults within 2 weeks of DHEA replacement and were sustained throughout the 3 months of the study. A 2-fold increase in serum levels of androgens (androstenedione, testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone) was observed in women, with only a small rise in androstenedione in men. There was no change in circulating levels of sex hormone-binding globulin, estrone, or estradiol in either gender. High density lipoprotein levels declined slightly in women, with no other lipid changes noted for either gender. Insulin sensitivity and percent body fat were unaltered. Although mean 24-h GH and IGFBP-3 levels were unchanged, serum IGF-I levels increased significantly, and IGFBP-1 decreased significantly for both genders, suggesting an increased bioavailability of IGF-I to target tissues. This was associated with a remarkable increase in perceived physical and psychological well-being for both men (67%) and women (84%) and no change in libido. In conclusion, restoring DHEA and DS to young adult levels in men and women of advancing age induced an increase in the bioavailability of IGF-I, as reflected by an increase in IGF-I and a decrease in IGFBP-1 levels. These observations together with improvement of physical and psychological well-being in both genders and the absence of side-effects constitute the first demonstration of novel effects of DHEA replacement in age-advanced men and women.
- The use of dehydroepiandrosterone therapy in clinical practice
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) therapy is controversial due to sensationalized reports of epidemiologic studies and the over-the-counter availability of DHEA. Human clinical trials have investigated the potential efficacy of DHEA therapy in multiple conditions with resultant inconsistencies in findings. DHEA is unique compared with other adrenal steroids because of the fluctuation in serum levels found from birth into advancing age. The lower endogenous levels of DHEA and DHEA sulfate found in advancing age have been correlated with a myriad of health conditions. Also, some studies suggest gender-specific actions of endogenous and exogenous DHEA.We reviewed only pharmacokinetic studies and human clinical trials investigating the efficacy of DHEA therapy that were placebo-controlled as these provided the most reliable scientific basis for the evaluation of DHEA therapy. Pharmacodynamic studies suggest that doses of 30-50mg of oral DHEA may produce physiologic androgen levels, especially in women. These studies report a dose-dependent effect and lack of accumulation of serum androgen levels. Pharmacologic studies also reveal a gender-specific response to DHEA therapy such that testosterone levels are increased in women but not in men.Clinical trials suggest that 50mg of oral DHEA, but not <30mg, can increase serum androgen levels to within the physiologic range for young adults with primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency, possibly improve sexual function, improve mood and self-esteem, and decrease fatigue/exhaustion. Whereas DHEA replacement therapy may be effective in treating patients with adrenal insufficiency, human clinical trials investigating its efficacy in conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus, HIV, Alzheimer disease, advancing age, male sexual dysfunction, perimenopausal symptoms, depression, and cardiovascular disease have not provided consistent findings.
- Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) replacement therapy has attracted considerable attention over recent years. Significant beneficial effects of DHEA replacement have been reported in patients representing the pathophysiological model of complete DHEA deficiency, in other words, adrenal insufficiency (AI). This includes effects on well-being, energy levels, mood, and libido, which is usually impaired in AI, particularly in female patients. DHEA exerts its action mainly indirectly via downstream metabolism to sex steroids, and conversion to active androgens is likely to play a major role. In addition, DHEA has well-described neurosteroidal properties, and by exerting anti-gamma aminobutyric acid(GABA)ergic action it may have antidepressive potential.
- A prospective study of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, mortality, and cardiovascular disease
It has been postulated that dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate ester, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), the major secretory products of the human adrenal gland, may be discriminators of life expectancy and aging. Our conclusions are limited by the single determination of DHEAS levels, but the data suggest that the DHEAS concentration is independently and inversely related to death from any cause and death from cardiovascular disease in men over age 50.
- Is dehydroepiandrosterone an antiobesity agent?
The steroid hormone intermediate, DHEA, has been proposed as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of obesity. Its effects on lipogenesis, substrate cycling, peroxisome proliferation, mitochondrial respiration, protein synthesis, and thyroid hormone function have been reported. The results of these studies suggest that the antiobesity function of DHEA is not simply one of inhibiting fat synthesis and deposition but is one of affecting a number of pathways that contribute to the maintenance of the isoenergetic state rather than the promotion of positive energy balance.
- DHEA(S): the fountain of youth
It has been known that DHEA can lower the levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). It should be pointed out that chronic inflammation is known to play a critical role in the development of the killer diseases of aging: heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and certain types of cancer. In conclusion, DHEA or DHEAS administration combined with conventional treatment may be implicated in particular conditions to improve the quality of life.
- Low dehydroepiandrosterone and ischemic heart disease in middle-aged men: prospective results from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study
The adrenal steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate (DHEAS) have been characterized as "protective" against ischemic heart disease (IHD), especially in men, on the basis of sparse epidemiologic evidence. The authors used data from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, a random sample prospective study of 1,709 men aged 40-70 years at baseline, to test whether serum levels of DHEA or DHEAS could predict incident IHD over a 9-year interval. Low serum DHEA was similarly predictive. These results confirm prior evidence that low DHEA and DHEAS can predict IHD in men.
- Age-related decrease of dehydroepiandrosterone concentrations in low density lipoproteins and its role in the susceptibility of low density lipoproteins to lipid peroxidation
The incidence of atherosclerosis and related diseases increases with age. The aging process may enhance lipoprotein modification, which leads to an increase in the susceptibility of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) to oxidation. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), the most abundant steroid hormone in humans, has been shown to have antiatherogenic effects. This hormone also decreases dramatically with age. Our results suggests that DHEA exerts an antioxidative effect on LDL, which could have antiatherogenic consequences. Careful clinical trials of DHEA replacement should determine whether this ex vivo effect could be translated into any measurable antiatherogenic (cardioprotective) action.
- Altered salivary dehydroepiandrosterone levels in major depression in adults
Lowered dehydroepiandrosterone levels are an additional state abnormality in adult depression. Adrenal steroid changes are thus not limited to cortisol. Because dehydroepiandrosterone may antagonize some effects of cortisol and may have mood improving properties, these findings may have significant implications for the pathophysiology of depression.
- Pharmacology and therapeutic effects of dehydroepiandrosterone in older subjects
Man and higher primates have adrenals that secrete large amounts of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) [prasterone] and its sulphate (DHEAS) [PB 008]. A remarkable feature of plasma DHEAS levels in humans is their great decrease with aging. Researchers have postulated that this age-related decline of DHEAS levels may explain some of the degenerative changes associated with aging. Moreover, administration of DHEA to laboratory animals has demonstrable beneficial effects such as prevention of diabetes mellitus, obesity, cancer, heart disease and positive immunomodulator effects.
- Androgen therapy with dehydroepiandrosterone
The physiological role of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulphate (DHEAS) is poorly understood. It depends in a large part on their transformation into testosterone and estradiol. The capacity of DHEA as a neurosteroid, the recent discovery of putative specific DHEA receptors on endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells, the steady decrease of DHEA production from the 40s on, together with certain human epidemiologic data as well as various beneficial effects of DHA supplementation in rodents have suggested the possibility that this steroid is involved in cognitive and memory, metabolic and vascular, immune and sexual functions and in their aging. However, epidemiologic studies are conflicting, and no well-designed clinical trials have definitely substantiated the role of DHEA in these functions in humans, or the utility and safety of DHEA supplementation. However, beneficial effects seem plausible in women with several conditions according to the results of double-blind placebo-controlled trials: the dose of 30 to 50 mg seems beneficial to the mood, sense of well being and sexual desire and activity of women with adrenal insufficiency. The only long-term trial of supplementation devoted to women over 60 reported significant increases in bone mineral density and, in the 70-79-year-old subgroup, in sexual desire, arousal, activity and satisfaction. The dose of 200 mg also proved to decrease disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus. Lastly, high DHEA doses have improved mood in various groups of patients of any age and gender with depressive symptoms.
- Androgen replacement therapy with dehydroepiandrosterone for androgen insufficiency and female sexual dysfunction: androgen and questionnaire results
This study revealed that there was a significant decrease in sexual distress, a significant increase in sexual function in the domains of desire, arousal, lubrication, satisfaction, and orgasm, and a normalization to values within the physiologic range in the following androgens measured: total testosterone, free or bioavAilable testosterone, DHEA, DHEA-S, and androstenedione. Side effects included increased facial hair (11%), weight gain (7%), acne (5%), temporary breast tenderness (1%), loss of head hair (1%) and skin rash (1%). Preliminary results suggest that androgen replacement therapy with dehydroepiandrosterone is a safe and effective treatment for androgen insufficiency and female sexual dysfunction. However, further research is needed, including prospective, multi-institution, placebo-controlled double-blind studies.
- Postmenopausal serum androgens, oestrogens and breast cancer risk: the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition
Considerable experimental and epidemiological evidence suggests that elevated endogenous sex steroids - notably androgens and oestrogens - promote breast tumour development. Our results have shown that, among postmenopausal women, not only elevated serum oestrogens but also serum androgens are associated with increased breast cancer risk. Since DHEAS and androstenedione are largely of adrenal origin in postmenopausal women, our results indicated that elevated adrenal androgen synthesis is a risk factor for breast cancer. The results from this study caution against
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