Reversal of the immunosenescent phenotype by dehydroepiandrosterone: hormone treatment provides an adjuvant effect on the immunization of aged mice with recombinant hepatitis B surface antigen

J Infect Dis. 1993 Apr;167(4):830-40. doi: 10.1093/infdis/167.4.830.


This study sought to establish whether administration of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) or its sulfate derivative to aged mice could effectively correct the immunosenescent phenotype. Supplemental DHEA sulfate and topical DHEA fully corrected the age-associated dysregulated production of T cell lymphokines by cells from all of the different lymphoid organs tested. Either DHEA or DHEA sulfate supplementation promoted enhanced antibody responses against recombinant hepatitis B surface antigen (rHBsAg) by the aged recipients when incorporated directly into the vaccine. When DHEA was provided either topically or was incorporated directly into vaccine, vigorous primary and secondary antibody responses were detected in the aged mice given a single administration of DHEA, regardless of the mode of administration. It was also established that DHEA treatment could enhance specific antibody responses to rHBsAg in aged animals that had previously not been effectively immunized by conventional vaccination procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects*
  • Cellular Senescence / immunology
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / administration & dosage*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation* / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Activation* / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation* / physiology
  • Lymphokines / biosynthesis*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phenotype
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Vaccination


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Lymphokines
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone