DHEA and DHEA-S response to acute psychosocial stress in healthy men and women

Biol Psychol. 2012 May;90(2):143-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Mar 13.


This study investigates the effect of acute psychosocial stress on serum concentrations of DHEA and DHEA-S in healthy men and women. Twenty men and 19 women (age 30-50 years) underwent Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Physiological measurements were performed before, directly after the stress test and after 30 mins of recovery. In both men and women, significantly elevated DHEA and DHEA-S levels were observed in response to the stressor. There was a large inter-individual variation in the magnitude of the response, especially for DHEA but no statistical difference between men and women. Magnitude of the change in the levels of DHEA was found to be positively associated with the magnitude of the changes in ACTH, cortisol and heart rate. Furthermore, the results of this study suggest that the capacity to secrete DHEA and DHEA-S during acute psychosocial stress declines with age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate / blood*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Stress, Psychological / blood*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology


  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone