The physiological role of dehydroepiandrosterone remains unclear, and there is continuing controversy on whether dehydroepiandrosterone treatment benefits adrenal-deficient and elderly people with an age-related decline in dehydroepiandrosterone. The objective of this study is to critically review published results and determine whether there is a valid case for dehydroepiandrosterone treatment with advancing age and hypoadrenalism.
Oral dehydroepiandrosterone therapy in both elderly and hypoadrenal subjects achieves dehydroepiandrosterone levels comparable to young subjects. Long-term dehydroepiandrosterone replacement in elderly people demonstrated no improvement in body composition, physical performance or any metabolic parameters; however, a modest but inconsistent improvement in bone mineral density occurred at certain sites. Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement in hypoadrenalism modestly improved insulin sensitivity and altered the lipid profile, but it remains uncertain whether these changes improve any patient-important outcomes. Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement in adrenal deficiency inconsistently improves some aspects of mental health.
Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement increases bone mineral density in elderly subjects; however, the effect is relatively small compared with established therapies for osteoporosis. No additional benefits have been identified for long-term dehydroepiandrosterone replacement, when used in the elderly to prevent or delay ageing. Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement may improve some metabolic variables and measures of psychological well-being in adrenal deficiency, but these benefits are not consistently sustained in long-term therapy. Long-term studies are needed to confirm sustained benefits in adrenal deficiency and establish long-term safety.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DHEA and DHEAS are steroids synthesized in human adrenals, but their function is unclear. In addition to adrenal synthesis, evidence also indicates that DHEA and DHEAS are synthesized in the brain, further suggesting a role of these hormones in brain function and development. Despite intensifying research into the biology of DHEA and DHEAS, many questions concerning their mechanisms of action and their potential involvement in neuropsychiatric illnesses remain unanswered. We review and distill the preclinical and clinical data on DHEA and DHEAS, focusing on (i) biological actions and putative mechanisms of action, (ii) differences in endogenous circulating concentrations in normal subjects and patients with neuropsychiatric diseases, and (iii) the therapeutic potential of DHEA in treating these conditions. Biological actions of DHEA and DHEAS include neuroprotection, neurite growth, and antagonistic effects on oxidants and glucocorticoids. Accumulating data suggest abnormal DHEA and/or DHEAS concentrations in several neuropsychiatric conditions. The evidence that DHEA and DHEAS may be fruitful targets for pharmacotherapy in some conditions is reviewed.
Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 01/2009; 30(1):65-91. DOI:10.1016/j.yfrne.2008.11.002 · 7.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since the beginnings of time humans have searched for a fountain of youth. This has led to many extravagant claims which have been highly profitable for their proponents. This area has become known as anti-aging medicine and has deservedly been frowned upon by the medical establishment. On the other hand, in the last decades dramatic advances in our understanding of the aging process have come from studies in worms, flies and mice. This article reviews some of these advances and places the extravagant claims of anti-aging medicine in perspective. We conclude that a balanced diet of moderate proportions and exercise remain today the only proven fountain of youth.
The Aging Male 04/2009; 12(1):13-20. DOI:10.1080/13685530902814434 · 2.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurosteroids have been reported to modulate memory processes in rodents. Three analogues of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), two of them previously described (7beta-aminoDHEA and 7beta-amino-17-ethylenedioxy-DHEA), and a new one (3beta-hydroxy-5alpha-androstane-6,17-dione) were synthesized, and their effects were evaluated on memory. This study examined their effects on long term and short term memory in male (6 weeks old) NMRI mice in comparison with the reference drug. Long term memory was assessed using the passive avoidance task and short term memory (spatial working memory) using the spontaneous alternation task in a Y maze. Moreover, the effects of DHEA and its analogues on spontaneous locomotion were measured. In all tests, DHEA and analogues were injected at three equimolar doses (0.300-1.350-6.075 microM/kg). DHEA and its three analogues administered immediately post-training at the highest doses (6.075 microM/kg, s.c.) improved retention in passive avoidance test. Without effect per se in the spatial working memory task, the four compounds failed to reverse scopolamine (1mg/kg, i.p.)-induced deficit in spontaneous alternation. These data suggested an action of DHEA and analogues in consolidation of long term memory particularly when emotional components are implied. Moreover, data indicated that pharmacological modulation of DHEA as performed in this study provides derivatives giving the same mnemonic profile than reference molecule.
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