Physiol. Res. 52: 397-407, 2003


Dehydroepiandrosterone – Is the Fountain of Youth Drying Out?


1Faculty of Medicine, 2Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
and 3Institute of Endocrinology, Prague, Czech Republic

Received September 15, 2002
Accepted October 7, 2002

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulphate-bound form (DHEAS) are important steroids mainly of adrenal origin. Their physiological and pathophysiological functions are not yet fully identified, although a number of various possible features have been hypothesized. Most popular is the description of the “hormone of youth” as the long-term dynamics of DHEA levels are characterized by a sharp age-related decline in the late adulthood and later. Low levels of DHEA are, however, associated not only with the ageing process but also with diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and some neurological or immunological entities. In the past decade, a number of brief studies have concentrated on these relationships and also on the role of exogenous DHEA in health, disease and human well-being. This article tries to summarize some of the most important facts achieved recently.

Key words
Dehydroepiandrosterone • Intracrinology • Hormone replacement therapy • Steroids

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© 2003 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences