Dehydroepiandrosterone and diseases of aging

Ronald R. Watson, Adele Huls, Moshen Araghinikuam, Sangbun Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA; prasterone) is a major adrenal hormone with no well accepted function. In both animals and humans, low DHEB levels occur with the development of a number of the problems of aging: immunosenesence, increased mortality, increased incidence of several cancers, loss of sleep, decreased feelings of well-being, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. DHEA replacement in aged mice significantly normalised immunosenescence, suggesting that this hormone plays a key role in aging and immune regulation in mice. Similarly, osteoclasts and lymphoid cells were stimulated by DHEA replacement, an effect that may delay osteoporosis, Recent studies do not support the original suggestion that low serum DHEA levels are associated with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive dysfunction in the elderly. As DHEA modulates energy metabolism, low levels should affect lipogenesis and gluconeogenesis, increasing the risk of diabetes mellitus and heart disease. Most of the effects of DHEA replacement have been extrapolated from epidemiological or animal model studies, and need to be tested in human trials, Studies that have been conducted in humans show essentially no toxicity of DHEA treatment at dosages that restore serum levels, with evidence of normalisation in some aging physiological systems. Thus, DHEA deficiency may expedite the development of some diseases that are common in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-291
Number of pages18
JournalDrugs and Aging
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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