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Clinical Trial
. 1995 Jan;268(1 Pt 1):E107-13.
doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1995.268.1.E107.

DHEA Administration Increases Rapid Eye Movement Sleep and EEG Power in the Sigma Frequency Range

Affiliations
Clinical Trial

DHEA Administration Increases Rapid Eye Movement Sleep and EEG Power in the Sigma Frequency Range

E Friess et al. Am J Physiol. .

Abstract

Dehydroepi-androsterone (DHEA) exhibits various behavioral effects in mammals, at least one of which is enhancement of memory that appears to be mediated by an interaction with the gamma-aminobutyric acidA (GABAA) receptor complex. We investigated the effects of a single oral dose of DHEA (500 mg) on sleep stages, sleep stage-specific electroencephalogram (EEG) power spectra, and concurrent hormone secretion in 10 healthy young men. DHEA administration induced a significant (P < 0.05) increase in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, whereas all other sleep variables remained unchanged compared with the placebo condition. Spectral analysis of five selected EEG bands revealed significantly (P < 0.05) enhanced EEG activity in the sigma frequency range during REM sleep in the first 2-h sleep period after DHEA administration. In contrast, the EEG power spectra of non-REM sleep were not affected, nor were the nocturnal time course curves of plasma cortisol, growth hormone, or testosterone concentration. The results suggest that DHEA administration has a mixed GABAA-agonistic/antagonistic effect, exerted either directly or through DHEA-induced changes in steroid metabolism. Because REM sleep has been implicated in memory storage, its augmentation in the present study suggests the potential clinical usefulness of DHEA in age-related dementia.

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