Dehydroepiandrosterone and Ageing

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    87 Citations (Scopus)


    Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the major steroid produced by the adrenal zona reticularis and, in contrast to cortisol and aldosterone, its secretion declines with ageing. This has generated major interest in its putative role as an 'anti-ageing' hormone. However, it is not clear that the age-associated, physiological decline in DHEA secretion represents a harmful deficiency. DHEA exhibits its action mainly by conversion to sex steroids. In addition, DHEA has neurosteroidal properties and may exhibit direct action via specific binding sites on endothelial cells. There is convincing evidence for beneficial effects of DHEA in patients with adrenal insufficiency and future research will hopefully elucidate its role in patients receiving pharmacological glucocorticoid treatment. However, in healthy elderly subjects, current evidence from randomised, controlled trials does not justify the use of DHEA, with no major beneficial effects reported and, in addition, potentially adverse effects on sex steroid-dependent tumour growth need to be considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)363-380
    Number of pages18
    JournalBest practice & research. Clinical endocrinology & metabolism
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2004


    Dive into the research topics of 'Dehydroepiandrosterone and Ageing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this