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1.  Renal clearance and daily excretion of cortisol and adrenal androgens in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;63(8):961-968.
Background: In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), patients demonstrate low levels of adrenal hormones.
Objective: To investigate whether increased renal clearance and daily excretion contribute to this phenomenon.
Methods: Thirty patients with RA, 32 with SLE, and 54 healthy subjects (HS) participated. Serum and urinary levels of cortisol, cortisone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP), androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and DHEA sulphate (DHEAS) were measured.
Results: Clearance of DHEAS and DHEA was lower in patients than in HS, and clearance of androstenedione was somewhat higher in patients than in HS, but daily excretion of this latter hormone was low. Clearance of cortisol, cortisone, and 17OHP was similar between the groups. The total molar amount per hour of excreted DHEA, DHEAS, and androstenedione was lower in patients than HS (but similar for cortisol). Serum DHEAS levels correlated with urinary DHEAS levels in HS and patients, whereby HS excreted 5–10 times more of this hormone than excreted by patients. Low serum levels of adrenal androgens and cortisol in patients as compared with HS were confirmed, and proteinuria was not associated with changes of measured renal parameters.
Conclusions: This study in patients with RA and SLE demonstrates that low serum levels of adrenal androgens and cortisol are not due to increased renal clearance and daily loss of these hormones. Decreased adrenal production or increased conversion or conjugation to downstream hormones are the most likely causes of inadequately low serum levels of adrenal hormones in RA and SLE.
PMCID: PMC1755103  PMID: 15249323
2.  Administration of Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Enhances Visual-Spatial Performance in Post-Menopausal Women 
Behavioral neuroscience  2011;125(5):742-752.
The current paper examines the effect of administering Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on visual-spatial performance in post-menopausal women (N=24, ages 55-80). The concurrent reduction of serum DHEA levels and visual-spatial performance in this population, coupled with the documented effects of DHEA’s androgenic metabolites on visual-spatial performance, suggest that DHEA administration may enhance visual-spatial performance. The current experiment used a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design in which 50 mg of oral DHEA was administered daily in the drug condition to explore this hypothesis. Performance on the Mental Rotation, Subject-Ordered Pointing, Fragmented Picture Identification, Perceptual Identification, Same-Different Judgment, and Visual Search tasks and serum levels of DHEA, DHEAS, testosterone, estrone and cortisol were measured in the DHEA and placebo conditions. In contrast to prior experiments using the current methodology that did not demonstrate effects of DHEA administration on episodic and short-term memory tasks, the current experiment demonstrated large beneficial effects of DHEA administration on Mental Rotation, Subject-Ordered Pointing, Fragmented Picture Identification, Perceptual Identification and Same-Different Judgment. Moreover, DHEA administration enhanced serum levels of DHEA, DHEAS, testosterone and estrone, and regression analyses demonstrated that levels of DHEA and its metabolites were positively related to cognitive performance on the visual-spatial tasks in the DHEA condition
PMCID: PMC3715689  PMID: 21942436
Dehydroepiadrosterone (DHEA); post-menopausal women; cognition; visual-spatial tasks; androgens
3.  Is the DHEAS/cortisol ratio a potential filter for non-operable constipated cases? 
Constipation is a significant manifestation of a number of psychological disorders. Published papers recommend using self-assessment questionnaires for discriminating psychological from non-psychological constipated patients before operating on them but reports from major surveys revealed that general practitioners failed to diagnose 70% of depressed patients using self-assessment questionnaires. Lower circulating concentrations of progesterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, cortisol, testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrostenedione sulfate (DHEAS) during the follicular phase in constipated young women compared with respective controls were found during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycles. During the luteal phase of the cycle, reductions were identified in estriol, cortisol and testosterone in the constipated group. Likewise, circulating concentrations of DHEAS were found to be lower in depressed patients than comparable healthy controls. DHEAS/cortisol ratios in morning serum and salivary samples were lower than those retrieved during other times of the day in depressed patients. The idea of recognizing major depression in constipated patients by measuring DHEAS/cortisol ratios in saliva and serum may be plausible but this possibility needs to be confirmed in well-designed studies.
PMCID: PMC2817052  PMID: 20135712
Chronic constipation; Gastrointestinal motility; Colonic inertia; Steroid hormones; Adrenal hormones; Dehydroepiandrosterone; Depression; Anxiety
4.  Perceived Stress at Work Is Associated with Lower Levels of DHEA-S 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72460.
It is known that long-term psychosocial stress may cause or contribute to different diseases and symptoms and accelerate aging. One of the consequences of prolonged psychosocial stress may be a negative effect on the levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulphated metabolite dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S). The aim of this study is to investigate whether levels of DHEA and DHEA-S differ in individuals who report perceived stress at work compared to individuals who report no perceived stress at work.
Morning fasting DHEA-S and DHEA levels were measured in serum in a non-stressed group (n = 40) and a stressed group (n = 41). DHEA and DHEA-S levels were compared between the groups using ANCOVA, controlling for age.
The mean DHEA-S levels were 23% lower in the subjects who reported stress at work compared to the non-stressed group. Statistical analysis (ANCOVA) showed a significant difference in DHEA-S levels between the groups (p = 0.010). There was no difference in DHEA level between the groups.
This study indicates that stressed individual have markedly lower levels of DHEA-S. Given the important and beneficial functions of DHEA and DHEA-S, lower levels of DHEA-S may constitute one link between psychosocial stress, ill health and accelerated ageing.
PMCID: PMC3756071  PMID: 24015247
5.  Effects of 7-keto Dehydroepiandrosterone on Voluntary Ethanol Intake in Male Rats 
Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.)  2010;45(4):349-354.
Administration of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a neurosteroid that can negatively modulate the GABAA receptor, has been shown to decrease voluntary intake of ethanol in rats. In vivo, DHEA can be metabolized to a variety of metabolites, including 7-keto DHEA, a metabolite without the prohormonal effects of DHEA. This study compared the effectiveness of 7-keto DHEA to DHEA for reducing ethanol intake in the same group of rats. The subjects, previously trained to drink ethanol using a saccharin-fading procedure, had access to ethanol for thirty minutes daily, and the amount consumed was recorded. Subjects were administered 10 and 56 mg/kg of DHEA or 7-keto DHEA intraperitoneally 15 minutes prior to drinking sessions. Subjects received each particular dose daily until one of two criteria was met; that is, either ethanol intake did not differ by more than 20% of the mean for three consecutive days, or for a maximum of eight days. Both 10 and 56 mg/kg of 7-keto DHEA significantly reduced the dose of ethanol consumed. While 10 mg/kg of 7-keto DHEA produced decreases similar to those found with DHEA, the 56-mg/kg dose of 7-keto DHEA was significantly more effective at decreasing the dose of ethanol consumed than the same dose of DHEA. These results show that 7-keto DHEA is comparable to, or possibly more effective than, DHEA at decreasing ethanol consumption in rats, and that 7-keto DHEA is a compound deserving further investigation as a possible clinical treatment for alcohol abuse without the prohormonal effects of DHEA.
PMCID: PMC3095668  PMID: 21051179
DHEA; 7-ketoDHEA; neurosteroid; GABAA receptor; ethanol intake; rats
6.  Adrenocortical Responsiveness to Infusions of Physiological Doses of ACTH is not Altered in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 
Early studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reported that abnormal function of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical (HPA) system was associated with the disorder. However, subsequent studies attempting to identify a specific aspect of HPA dysfunction that characterizes PTSD have been marked by considerable inconsistency of results. A facet of HPA regulation that has been considered but not definitively investigated is the possibility that the responsiveness of the adrenal cortex to physiological concentrations of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) is diminished in PTSD. Relationships between PTSD and the adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) have also been postulated. In this study we investigated the magnitude and time course of changes in concentrations of plasma cortisol and DHEA in response to bolus infusions of physiological doses of ACTH 1–24 in PTSD patients and control subjects. We found no evidence for PTSD-related alterations in cortisol or DHEA secretion in response to stimulation by low doses of ACTH and conclude that adrenocortical responsiveness is normal in PTSD. Results from this and other studies suggest that the occurrence of defects in HPA function in PTSD may be specific responses to particular combinations of trauma type, genetic susceptibility, and individual history.
PMCID: PMC2773172  PMID: 19893760
PTSD; HPA axis; ACTH; adrenal responsiveness; cortisol; DHEA; human
7.  Cortisol and DHEA-S are associated with startle potentiation during aversive conditioning in humans 
Psychopharmacology  2005;186(3):434-441.
Fear conditioning reliably increases the startle reflex and stress hormones, yet very little is known about the effect of stress hormones on fear-potentiated startle. Cortisol and the sulfate ester of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA-S) are involved in stress and anxiety. Evidence suggests that low cortisol/DHEA-S ratio has a buffering effect on stress and anxiety in preclinical and clinical studies, suggesting that there may be a relationship between fear-potentiated startle and cortisol and DHEA-S activity.
The aim of the study was to examine whether there is a relationship between cortisol/DHEA-S ratio and fear-potentiated startle.
Thirty healthy subjects participated in a differential aversive conditioning experiment during which one of two stimuli (CS+) was paired with a shock, and the other was not (CS-). Conditioned responses were assessed with the startle reflex, defined as startle potentiation during CS+ compared to CS-. DHEA-S and cortisol levels were assayed from blood samples collected in both a baseline and an aversive conditioning session. Subjective state anxiety, arousal, and valence were assessed at various times during testing.
Fear-potentiated startle was larger in individuals with high compared to low cortisol/DHEA-S ratio. Multiple regression analyses revealed that fear-potentiated startle was positively associated with cortisol and negatively associated with DHEA-S. There was no significant correlation between DHEA-S and cortisol levels.
These data suggest that cortisol and DHEA-S are involved in fear conditioning.
PMCID: PMC2702204  PMID: 16052364
Fear conditioning; Fear-potentiated startle; Cortisol; DHEA-S; Stress; HPA
8.  Correlates of comorbid anxiety and externalizing disorders in childhood obsessive compulsive disorder 
The present study examines the influence of diagnostic comorbidity on the demographic, psychiatric, and functional status of youth with a primary diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Two hundred and fifteen children (ages 5–17) referred to a university-based OCD specialty clinic were compared based on DSM-IV diagnostic profile: OCD without comorbid anxiety or externalizing disorder, OCD plus anxiety disorder, and OCD plus externalizing disorder. No age or gender differences were found across groups. Higher OCD severity was found for the OCD + ANX group, while the OCD + EXT group reported greater functional impairment than the other two groups. Lower family cohesion was reported by the OCD + EXT group compared to the OCD group and the OCD + ANX group reported higher family conflict compared to the OCD + EXT group. The OCD + ANX group had significantly lower rates of tic disorders while rates of depressive disorders did not differ among the three groups. The presence of comorbid anxiety and externalizing psychopathology are associated with greater symptom severity and functional and family impairment and underscores the importance of a better understanding of the relationship of OCD characteristics and associated disorders. Results and clinical implications are further discussed.
PMCID: PMC2910305  PMID: 20349255
Child; Adolescent; OCD; Comorbidity; Anxiety; Externalizing
9.  The Effects of Galantamine Hydrobromide Treatment on Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate and Cortisol Levels in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 
Psychiatry Investigation  2009;6(3):204-210.
Mental fatigue, cognitive disorders, and sleep disturbances seen in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may be attributed to cholinergic deficit. A functional deficiency of cholinergic neurotransmission may cause the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis hypoactivity seen in CFS. Therefore, we investigated the alterations in stress hormones such as cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) in CFS patients before and after 4-week administration of galantamine hydrobromide, a selective acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, and aimed to investigate whether there are any relationships between the probable hormonal changes and cholinergic treatment.
Basal levels of cortisol and DHEAS were measured in 29 untreated CFS patients who were diagnosed according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria and in 20 healthy controls. In the patient group, four weeks after 8 mg/d galantamine hydrobromide treatment, cortisol and DHEAS levels were measured again. After the treatment 22 patients who stayed in study were divided into two subgroups as responders and nonresponders according to the reduction in their Newcastle Research Group ME/CFS Score Card (NRG) scores.
Important findings of this study are lower pre-and post-treatment cortisol levels and in all CFS patients compared to controls (F=4.129, p=0.049; F=4.803, p=0.035, respectively); higher basal DHEAS values and higher DHEAS/cortisol molar ratios which were normalized following four weeks' treatment with 8 mg/d galantamine hydrobromide in the treatment-respondent group (F=5.382, p=0.029; F=5.722, p=0.025, respectively).
The findings of the decrease in basal DHEAS levels and DHEAS/cortisol molar ratios normalizing with galantamine treatment may give some support to the cholinergic deficit hypothesis in CFS.
PMCID: PMC2796068  PMID: 20046396
Chronic fatigue syndrome; Cortisol; Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; Galantamine hydrobromide
10.  Determination of Cortisol and Dehydroepiandrosterone Levels in Saliva for Screening of Periodontitis in Older Japanese Adults 
Background. Recent reports have found a positive relationship between periodontitis and the hormones cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). We investigated the associations between those levels and periodontitis in never-smokers and smokers of elderly subjects. Subjects and Methods. Cortisol and DHEA levels in saliva were determined in 171 subjects (85 males, 86 females), with clinical examinations including probing depth (PD) and clinical attachment loss (CAL) also performed. Results. Smoking had effects on cortisol and DHEA levels, and those were significantly associated with severe PD and CAL in never-smokers. According to ROC analysis, the cutoff values of cortisol and DHEA to obtain the optimal sensitivity and specificity for detecting severe periodontitis were 2.06 ng/mL and 60.24 pg/mL, respectively, for PD, and 2.12 ng/mL and 61.78 pg/mL, respectively, for CAL. Conclusions. Assessment of hormone levels may be a useful screening method for periodontitis, though limited to never-smokers.
PMCID: PMC2837342  PMID: 20309411
11.  Measuring cortisol and DHEA in fingernails: A pilot study 
Abnormalities in both cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) have been reported in psychiatric disorders. Analysis of saliva, urine and blood cortisol and DHEA levels provides an index of hormone levels over a short time period. Unlike such conventional measures, fingernails incorporate endogenous hormones that passively diffuse to the nail matrix from capillaries during keratinization. This study piloted the measurement of cortisol and DHEA levels in fingernails as a potential measure of their accumulated secretion of steroid hormones over a prolonged time period.
Thirty-three university students (18–24 years) provided fingernail samples on two occasions over a school semester. The visits were scheduled so nail cortisol and DHEA levels were collected from periods when students might be under different levels of stress.
During the putatively stressful period, the nail samples showed a significant increase in the cortisol: DHEA ratio (P = 0.0002) due to a significant decrease in the DHEA levels (P = 0.004) and a numerical but not statistically significant increase in the cortisol levels (P = 0.256).
This pilot study showed that nails can be used to measure cortisol and DHEA, a measure which may reflect environmental stress. More work is required to further validate this technique which may prove useful in studies of both healthy individuals and patient groups.
PMCID: PMC2951060  PMID: 20169040
stress; nails; cortisol; DHEA
12.  Effect of age and caloric restriction on circadian adrenal steroid rhythms in rhesus macaques 
Neurobiology of aging  2007;29(9):1412-1422.
Dietary caloric restriction (CR) slows aging, extends lifespan, and reduces the occurrence of age-related diseases in short-lived species. However, it is unclear whether CR can exert similar beneficial effects in long-lived species, like primates. Our objective was to determine if CR could attenuate purported age-related changes in the 24-h release of adrenal steroids. To this end, we examined 24-hour plasma profiles of cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) in young and old, male and female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) subjected to either ad libitum (AL)-feeding or CR (70% of AL) for 2–4 years. Hormone profiles from young monkeys showed pronounced 24-h rhythms. Cortisol concentrations were higher in old males but not females, whereas DHEAS rhythms were dampened with age in both sexes. The cortisol rhythms of old CR males resembled that of young control males. However, CR failed to prevent age-related declines in DHEAS and further dampened DHEAS rhythms in both sexes. Apart from the partial attenuation of the age-related cortisol elevation in the old males, 24-h adrenal steroid rhythms did not benefit from late-onset CR.
PMCID: PMC2585543  PMID: 17420071
Adrenal steroids; Aging; Caloric restriction; Circadian; Cortisol; DHEAS; Endocrine rhythms; Primate
13.  Perceived Stress in Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder is Related with Obsessive but Not Compulsive Symptoms 
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is achronic psychiatric disorder characterized by recurrent intrusive thoughts and/or repetitive compulsory behaviors. This psychiatric disorder is known to be stress responsive, as symptoms increase during periods of stress but also because stressful events may precede the onset of OCD. However, only a few and inconsistent reports have been published about the stress perception and the stress-response in these patients. Herein, we have characterized the correlations of OCD symptoms with basal serum cortisol levels and scores in a stress perceived questionnaire (PSS-10). The present data reveals that cortisol levels and the stress scores in the PSS-10 were significantly higher in OCD patients that in controls. Moreover, stress levels self-reported by patients using the PSS-10 correlated positively with OCD severity in the Yale–Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale (Y–BOCS). Interestingly, PSS-10 scores correlated with the obsessive component, but not with the compulsive component, of Y–BOCS. These results confirm that stress is relevant in the context of OCD, particularly for the obsessive symptomatology.
PMCID: PMC3613755  PMID: 23565098
obsessive–compulsive disorder; stress; cortisol; Y–BOCS; PSS-10
14.  Adrenocortical Hormone Abnormalities in Men with Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome 
Urology  2008;71(2):261-266.
To identify adrenocortical hormone abnormalities as indicators of endocrine dysfunction in CP/CPPS.
We simultaneously measured the serum concentrations of 12 steroids in CP/CPPS and control patients, using isotope dilution liquid chromatography followed by atmospheric pressure photospray ionization and tandem mass spectrometry.
Twenty-seven CP/CPPS patients and 29 age-matched asymptomatic healthy controls were evaluated. In the mineralocorticoid pathway, progesterone was significantly higher, whereas corticosterone and aldosterone concentrations were significantly lower, in CP/CPPS than in controls. In the glucocorticoid pathway, 11-deoxycortisol was significantly lower, and cortisol concentrations were not different between patients and controls. In the sex steroid pathway, androstenedione and testosterone concentrations were significantly higher in CP/CPPS than in controls. Estradiol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) concentrations were not different between patients and controls. NIH-CPSI total and pain domain scores correlated positively with 17-hydroxyprogesterone and aldosterone (P<0.001) and negatively with cortisol concentrations (P<0.001).
Results suggest reduced activity of CYP21A2 (P450c21), the enzyme that converts progesterone to corticosterone, and 17-hydroxyprogesterone to 11-deoxycortisol. Furthermore, these results provide insights into the biological basis of CP/CPPS. Follow-up studies should explore the possibility that CP/CPPS patients meet the diagnostic criteria for nonclassical CAH and if hormonal findings improve or worsen in parallel with symptom severity.
PMCID: PMC2390769  PMID: 18308097
chronic prostatitis with chronic pelvic pain syndrome; adrenal cortex; biological markers
15.  Dynamics of Adrenal Steroids Are Related to Variations in Th1 and Treg Populations during Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in HIV Positive Persons 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33061.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains the most frequent cause of illness and death from an infectious agent, and its interaction with HIV has devastating effects. We determined plasma levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), its circulating form DHEA-suphate (DHEA-s) and cortisol in different stages of M. tuberculosis infection, and explored their role on the Th1 and Treg populations during different scenarios of HIV-TB coinfection, including the immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), a condition related to antiretroviral treatment. DHEA levels were diminished in HIV-TB and HIV-TB IRIS patients compared to healthy donors (HD), HIV+ individuals and HIV+ individuals with latent TB (HIV-LTB), whereas dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-s) levels were markedly diminished in HIV-TB IRIS individuals. HIV-TB and IRIS patients presented a cortisol/DHEA ratio significantly higher than HIV+, HIV-LTB and HD individuals. A positive correlation was observed between DHEA-s and CD4 count among HIV-TB individuals. Conversely, cortisol plasma level inversely correlated with CD4 count within HIV-TB individuals. M. tuberculosis-specific Th1 lymphocyte count was increased after culturing PBMC from HIV-TB individuals in presence of DHEA. We observed an inverse correlation between DHEA-s plasma level and Treg frequency in co-infected individuals, and CD4+FoxP3+ Treg frequency was increased in HIV-TB and IRIS patients compared to other groups. Strikingly, we observed a prominent CD4+CD25-FoxP3+ population across HIV-TB and HIV-TB IRIS patients, which frequency correlated with DHEA plasma level. Finally, DHEA treatment negatively regulated FoxP3 expression without altering Treg frequency in co-infected patients. These data suggest an enhancing role for DHEA in the immune response against M. tuberculosis during HIV-TB coinfection and IRIS.
PMCID: PMC3303789  PMID: 22431997
16.  Central serotonin transporter levels are associated with stress hormone response and anxiety 
Psychopharmacology  2010;213(2-3):563-572.
Negative mood states are characterized by both stress hormone dysregulation and serotonergic dysfunction, reflected by altered thalamic serotonin transporter (5-HTT) levels. However, so far, no study examined the individual association between cortisol response and cerebral in vivo 5-HTT levels in patients suffering from negative mood states.
The objective of this cross-sectional study was to assess the interrelation of cortisol response, thalamic 5-HTT levels, and anxiety in healthy subjects and two previously published samples of patients with unipolar major depression (UMD) and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), controlling for age, gender, 5-HTT genotype, smoking, and seasonality.
Regional 5-HTT levels and cortisol response to dexamethasone-corticotropin (Dex-CRH) challenge were assessed in consecutive samples of medication-free patients suffering from UMD (N=10) and OCD (N=10), and 20 healthy volunteers. The intervention used was combined Dex-CRH test and [11C]DASB positron emission tomography. The main outcome measures were: 5-HTT binding potential (BPND) in a predefined thalamic ROI, cortisol response defined as the maximum cortisol increase in the combined Dex-CRH-test, and state of anxiety from the state-trait-anxiety inventory.
Reduced thalamic 5-HTT BPND was associated with increased cortisol response (r=−0.35, p<0.05; in patients: r=−0.53, p<0.01) and with increased state anxiety (r=−0.46, p<0.01), surviving correction for age, gender, 5-HTT genotype, smoking, and seasonality (p<0.05). The 5-HTT genotype, on the contrary, was not significantly associated with cortisol response (p=0.19) or negative mood (p=0.23).
The association between stress hormone response, thalamic 5-HTT levels, and anxiety in patients suffering from negative mood states suggests an interaction between two major mechanisms implicated in negative mood states in humans.
PMCID: PMC3010330  PMID: 20585760
Stress hormones; Serotonin transporter; Negative mood states; PET; Dex-CRH-Test
17.  Dehydroepiandrosterone and age-related cognitive decline 
Age  2009;32(1):61-67.
In humans the circulating concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS) decrease markedly during aging, and have been implicated in age-associated cognitive decline. This has led to the hypothesis that DHEA supplementation during aging may improve memory. In rodents, a cognitive anti-aging effect of DHEA and DHEAS has been observed but it is unclear whether this effect is mediated indirectly through conversion of these steroids to estradiol. Moreover, despite the demonstration of correlations between endogenous DHEA concentrations and cognitive ability in certain human patient populations, such correlations have yet to be convincingly demonstrated during normal human aging. This review highlights important differences between rodents and primates in terms of their circulating DHEA and DHEAS concentrations, and suggests that age-related changes within the human DHEA metabolic pathway may contribute to the relative inefficacy of DHEA replacement therapies in humans. The review also highlights the value of using nonhuman primates as a pragmatic animal model for testing the therapeutic potential of DHEA for age-associate cognitive decline in humans.
PMCID: PMC2829637  PMID: 19711196
Dehydroepiandrosterone; Cognitive decline; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
18.  Dehydroepiandrosterone and age-related cognitive decline 
Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands)  2009;32(1):61-67.
In humans the circulating concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS) decrease markedly during aging, and have been implicated in age-associated cognitive decline. This has led to the hypothesis that DHEA supplementation during aging may improve memory. In rodents, a cognitive anti-aging effect of DHEA and DHEAS has been observed but it is unclear whether this effect is mediated indirectly through conversion of these steroids to estradiol. Moreover, despite the demonstration of correlations between endogenous DHEA concentrations and cognitive ability in certain human patient populations, such correlations have yet to be convincingly demonstrated during normal human aging. This review highlights important differences between rodents and primates in terms of their circulating DHEA and DHEAS concentrations, and suggests that age-related changes within the human DHEA metabolic pathway may contribute to the relative inefficacy of DHEA replacement therapies in humans. The review also highlights the value of using nonhuman primates as a pragmatic animal model for testing the therapeutic potential of DHEA for age-associate cognitive decline in humans.
PMCID: PMC2829637  PMID: 19711196
Dehydroepiandrosterone; Cognitive decline; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
19.  Effect of dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation on bone mineral density, bone markers, and body composition in older adults 
We present results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to examine the effect of 50 mg daily oral DHEA supplementation for one year on bone mineral density (BMD), bone metabolism and body composition in 225 healthy adults aged 55 to 85 years.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels decline dramatically with age, concurrent with the onset of osteoporosis, suggesting a role for DHEA supplementation in preventing age-related bone loss.
We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to examine the effect of 50 mg daily oral DHEA supplementation for one year on bone mineral density (BMD), bone metabolism and body composition in 225 healthy adults aged 55 to 85 years.
DHEA treatment increased serum DHEA and DHEA sulfate levels to concentrations seen in young adults. Testosterone, estradiol and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels increased in women (all p<0.001), but not men, receiving DHEA. Serum C-terminal telopeptide of type-1 collagen levels decreased in women (p=0.03), but not men, whereas bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels were not significantly altered in either sex. After 12 months, there was a positive effect of DHEA on lumbar spine BMD in women (p=0.03), but no effect was observed for hip, femoral neck or total body BMD, and no significant changes were observed at any site among men. Body composition was not affected by DHEA treatment in either sex.
Among older healthy adults, daily administration of 50 mg of DHEA has a modest and selective beneficial effect on BMD and bone resorption in women, but provides no bone benefit for men.
PMCID: PMC2435090  PMID: 18084691
Body composition; Bone metabolism; Bone mineral density (BMD); Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels; Placebo-controlled trial; Testosterone
Depression and anxiety  2013;30(8):716-722.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition that often produces lifelong morbidity, but few studies have examined long-term outcome (greater than 5 years) in adult patients. Available studies suggest that 32–74% of adult OCD patients will experience clinical improvement over the long term. However, these studies were conducted before validated OCD rating scales were established and the development of evidence-based treatments for OCD.
We investigated the 10–20 year outcome of 83 of 165 eligible subjects previously enrolled after participation in placebo-controlled trials of serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) medications for OCD. We examined the association between clinical characteristics at initial assessment and OCD symptom severity at follow-up. We hypothesized that primary OCD symptom dimension and initial response to pharmacotherapy with serotonin reuptake inhibitors would be associated with later symptom severity.
Only 20% (17 of 83) of subjects had experienced a remission of their OCD symptoms at follow-up (Y-BOCS ≤ 8). Forty-nine percent (41 of 83) of subjects were still experiencing clinically significant OCD symptoms. Response to initial SRI pharmacotherapy was significantly associated with long-term outcome: 31% (13 of 42) of subjects who responded (CGI < 3) to initial SRI pharmacotherapy were remitted at follow-up, compared to 12% (3 of 25) of partial responders and none of the 16 subjects who had no response to initial SRI pharmacotherapy. We did not find a significant association between long-term clinical outcome and any of the OCD symptom dimensions.
Despite the introduction and dissemination of several evidence-based treatments for OCD, most adult OCD patients do not achieve remission. Initial response to pharmacotherapy was strongly associated with long-term outcome.
PMCID: PMC3932438  PMID: 23532944
OCD/obsessive compulsive disorder; pharmacotherapy; anxiety/anxiety disorders; treatment; treatment resistance
21.  Acute and chronic stress increase DHEAS concentrations in rhesus monkeys 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2010;35(7):1055-1062.
Most studies on the stress-responsiveness of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis have focused on glucocorticoids, while few studies have investigated the adrenal secretion of dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS), which is unique to primates. Monkeys were chair-restrained for two hours per day for seven consecutive days, and blood samples were collected upon placement in the chair, and at 15, 30, 60 and 120 minutes later. Like cortisol, DHEAS concentrations increased throughout the initial session of chair restraint (acute stress). Unlike the cortisol response, which decreased after repeated exposure to the stressor, the DHEAS response was sustained throughout the seventh session of restraint (chronic stress) and response to the seventh session of restraint did not differ from the DHEAS response to the initial session. Like cortisol, DHEAS concentrations showed a diurnal rhythm with higher concentrations in the morning compared to the evening and a decrease in response to dexamethasone (DEX) administration. After repeated exposure to the stressor, the suppression of DHEAS in response to dexamethasone was more complete, suggesting an increase in negative feedback sensitivity. These data show that DHEAS concentrations increase in response to both acute and chronic (repeated) stress and provide another measure of HPA activity that parallels cortisol during acute responses to stress but diverges in chronic or repeated stress.
PMCID: PMC2894999  PMID: 20153584
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; DHEAS; cortisol; stress; rhesus monkey; dexamethasone
Depression and anxiety  2007;24(6):399-409.
The relationship between obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is unclear. BDD has been proposed to be an OCD-spectrum disorder or even a type of OCD. However, few studies have directly compared these disorders’ clinical features. We compared characteristics of subjects with OCD (n = 210), BDD (n = 45), and comorbid BDD/OCD (n = 40). OCD and BDD did not significantly differ in terms of demographic features, age of OCD or BDD onset, illness duration, and many other variables. However, subjects with BDD had significantly poorer insight than those with OCD and were more likely to be delusional. Subjects with BDD were also significantly more likely than those with OCD to have lifetime suicidal ideation, as well as lifetime major depressive disorder and a lifetime substance use disorder. The comorbid BDD/OCD group evidenced greater morbidity than subjects with OCD or BDD in a number of domains, but differences between the comorbid BDD/OCD group and the BDD group were no longer significant after controlling for BDD severity. However, differences between the comorbid BDD/OCD group and the OCD group remained significant after controlling for OCD severity. In summary, OCD and BDD did not significantly differ on many variables but did have some clinically important differences. These findings have implications for clinicians and for the classification of these disorders.
PMCID: PMC2092450  PMID: 17041935
dysmorphophobia; phenomenology; OCD-spectrum disorders; somatoform disorders; insight; comorbidity
23.  A controlled study of sensory tics in Gilles de 1a Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder using a structured interview. 
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of sensory tics in the Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS), and a matched population of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) using a structured assessment. METHODS: 50 subjects each of GTS, OCD, and healthy controls were studied to determine the prevalence and phenomenology of sensory tics, and diagnose tic disorders, OCD, and affective disorders according to DSM-III-R criteria. The severity of tics and obsessive-compulsive symptoms were quantified using the Tourette syndrome global scale (TSGS) and Yale-Brown obsessive-compulsive scale (Y-BOCS) respectively. RESULTS: The GTS group (28%) had significantly-greater life-time prevalence of sensory tics than the OCD (10%) and healthy (8%) groups (P < 0.05). The sensory tics in both the GTS and OCD groups were predominantly located in rostral anatomical sites. Multiple sensory tics occurred in some patients with GTS or OCD, but not in healthy subjects. Within the OCD group, those who had sensory tics had significantly higher TSGS scores (P < 0.0001), and a higher prevalence of GTS (P < 0.005). CONCLUSIONS: Sensory tics seem to be a common and distinctive feature of GTS and that subpopulation of patients with OCD predisposed to tic disorders. Neurophysiologically, a possible explanation for sensory tics is that they represent the subjectively experienced component of neural dysfunction below the threshold for motor and vocal tic production.
PMCID: PMC486732  PMID: 9048721
24.  DHEA administration and exercise training improves insulin resistance in obese rats 
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is precursor of sex steroid hormone. We demonstrated that acute DHEA injection to type 1 diabetes model rats induced improvement of hyperglycemia. However, the effect of the combination of DHEA administration and exercise training on insulin resistance is still unclear. This study was undertaken to determine whether 6-weeks of DHEA administration and/or exercise training improve insulin resistance in obese male rats.
After 14 weeks of a high-sucrose diet, obese male Wistar rats were assigned randomly to one of four groups: control, DHEA administration, exercise training, and a combination of DHEA administration and exercise training (n = 10 each group).
After 6-weeks of DHEA administration and/or exercise training, rats in the combination group weighed significantly less and had lower serum insulin levels than rats in the other groups. Moreover, the rats treated with DHEA alone or DHEA and exercise had significantly lower fasting glucose levels (combination, 84 ± 6.5 mg/dL; DHEA, 102 ± 9.5 mg/dL; control, 148 ± 10.5 mg/dL). In addition, insulin sensitivity check index showed significant improvements in the combination group (combination, 0.347 ± 0.11; exercise, 0.337 ± 0.16%; DHEA, 0.331 ± 0.14; control, 0.308 ± 0.12). Muscular DHEA and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations were significantly higher in the combination group, and closely correlated with the quantitative insulin-sensitivity check index (DHEA: r = 0.71, p < 0.01; DHT: r = 0.69, p < 0.01).
These results showed that a combination of DHEA administration and exercise training effectively improved fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, and insulin sensitivity, which may reflect increased muscular DHEA and DHT concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3433349  PMID: 22647230
Exercise training; Insulin sensitivity; Sex steroid hormone; Obesity
25.  Ocular motor responses to unpredictable and predictable smooth pursuit stimuli among patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. 
This study was conducted to evaluate the smooth pursuit system functioning of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). For Study 1, 12 subjects with OCD and 12 nonpsychiatric subjects were administered 9-deg-per-sec ramp stimuli to elicit smooth pursuit eye movements. Consistent with a previous report, patients with OCD did not significantly differ from nonpsychiatric subjects on pursuit gain, or frequency of corrective and intrusive saccades. Patients with OCD, however, had smaller catch-up saccades during smooth pursuit than nonpsychiatric subjects. For Study 2, 12 subjects with OCD and 12 nonpsychiatric subjects were administered 2 different triangle wave stimuli with target velocities of 12 (0.2 Hz) deg per sec and 24 (0.4 Hz) deg per sec. Subjects with OCD and nonpsychiatric subjects did not significantly differ on any variable in the slow target velocity condition. When following 24-deg-per-sec targets, however, patients with OCD had significantly lower pursuit gain than the nonpsychiatric subjects. Results from Study 1 and 2 are consistent with the hypothesis that patients with OCD have a modest smooth pursuit deficit that is elicited only while following faster velocity targets.
PMCID: PMC1188730  PMID: 8580114

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