Changes in serum sex hormone profiles after short-term low-dose administration of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) to young and elderly persons

Endocr J. 2007 Feb;54(1):153-62. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.k05-132. Epub 2006 Dec 21.


In man, serum concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS) decrease with age after the twenties. For this reason, the decline in DHEA and DHEAS concentrations may be related to the development of some chronic diseases that are prevalent in the older age population. In this study, we evaluate the benefit and safety level of DHEA administration to men as a hormone replacement therapy. Twenty-two healthy Japanese males (age 26-63; mean +/- SD, 41.0 +/- 10.0 yrs.) received 25 mg DHEA once a day orally in the morning for two weeks. Serum concentrations of steroid hormones and cytokines were measured before and after the DHEA administration. Glucose tolerance and insulin resistance were also assessed before and after the DHEA administration using a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-R), respectively. Serum DHEA and DHEAS levels were significantly elevated after the DHEA administration for all ages of test subjects. In subjects who were older than 41 yrs. (older group) serum androstenedione and estradiol levels were elevated after the DHEA administration. Significant negative correlations were observed between the serum DHEA concentration and the serum concentration of fasting insulin, HOMA-R, leptin, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein for all subjects. Daily administration of 25 mg DHEA increased the serum DHEA, DHEAS, androstenedione, and estradiol levels of the subjects of the older group to the same level as that of younger subjects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / blood*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / blood
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cytokines
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Glucose