Prospective measurements of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in a cohort of elderly subjects: relationship to gender, subjective health, smoking habits, and 10-year mortality.

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U330, Epidémiologie, Santé Publique et Développement, Université de Bordeaux II, 146, Rue Léo Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux Cedex, France.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 08/2001; 98(14):8145-50. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.121177998
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The decrease with age of the adrenal-secreted dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) in serum has suggested that it may be causally related to longevity. For the PAQUID [People (Personnes) Aged (Agées) About What (Quid, in Latin)] cohort of elderly subjects, we have previously reported higher DHEAS in men than in women, a decrease with age and, among men, a negative correlation between the DHEAS level and mortality at 2 and 4 years. Here, with an 8-year followup in 290 subjects, we show a global decrease of 2.3% per year for men and 3.9% per year for women. However, in approximately 30% of cases, there was an increase of DHEAS. We observed no relationship between the evolution of DHEAS level and functional, psychological, and mental status, possibly because of selection by death. In women, no association was found between mortality and DHEAS level. In men, the relative risk (RR) of death was higher for the lowest levels of DHEAS (RR = 1.9, P = 0.007), with RR = 6.5, P = 0.003 for those under 70 years old, a result indicating heterogeneity of the population. There was an effect of subjective health on mortality that disappeared after adjustment of DHEAS levels, suggesting its relation with these DHEAS levels. Death RR was much higher in smokers with a low DHEAS level than in nonsmokers with high DHEAS (RR = 6.7, P = 0.001). We submit that the involvement of DHEAS is possibly different according to gender, that association between low DHEAS level and mortality only for men under 70 years old possibly reflects heterogeneity of the population, and that DHEAS level is a reliable predictor of death in male smokers.

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    ABSTRACT: The adrenal prohormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulphate conjugate (DHEAS) steadily decrease with age by 10% per decade reaching a nadir after the age of 80. Both DHEA and DHEAS (DHEA/S) exert many biological activities in different tissues and organs. In particular, DHEA and DHEAS are produced de novo in the brain, hence their classification as neurosteroids. In humans, the brain-to-plasma ratios for DHEA and DHEAS are 4-6.5 and 8.5, respectively, indicating a specific neuroendocrine role for these hormones. DHEA/S stimulates neurite growth, neurogenesis and neuronal survival, apoptosis, catecholamine synthesis and secretion. Together with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-glucocorticoid properties, it has been hypothesized a neuroprotective effect for DHEA/S. We conducted an accurate research of the literature using PubMed. In the period of time between 1994 and 2013, we selected the observational human studies testing the relationship between DHEA/S and cognitive function in both sexes. The studies are presented according to the cross-sectional and longitudinal design and to the positive or neutral effects on different domains of cognitive function. We also analysed the Clinical Trials, available in the literature, having cognitive domains as the main or secondary outcome. Although the cross-sectional evidence of a positive association between DHEA/S and cognitive function, longitudinal studies and RCTs using DHEA oral treatment (50mg/day) in normal or demented adult-older subjects, have produced conflicting and inconsistent results. In summary, the current data do not provide clear evidence for the usefulness of DHEA treatment to improve cognitive function in adult-older subjects.
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