Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate derivative (DHEA-S) are major adrenal secretory products in humans, but their biological function is not still fully explained. Some studies reported negative correlation of DHEA(S) with BMI, fat distribution, and correlations with insulin sensitivity or lipid spectra, but the results are often controversial. Our objective was to assess the correlations of DHEA and DHEA-S levels in Czech non-diabetic population with anthropometric, biochemical and hormonal parameters related to glucose and lipid metabolism.
The study entered 435 well anthropometrically and metabolically characterized healthy volunteers (women n=290, age 31.6+11.4 yrs, BMI 23.5+4.1 kg/m2, men n=145, age 32.3+10.0 yrs, BMI 24.7+3.6 kg/m2) with/without family history of diabetes type 2.
Statistics: Spearman correlations without/with adjustment for age and/or BMI, Ancova were used. In both men and women, the correlations of DHEA with anthropometric parameters disappeared after the adjustment for age, only the correlation of DHEA-S with WHR was positive. In women, there was negative correlation of DHEA and DHEA-S with SHBG, triglycerides, total and LDL-cholesterol. In men, DHEA-S after the adjustment for age correlated positively with fasting and stimulated glucose, insulin and C-peptide levels. Surprisingly, DHEA-S negatively correlated with insulin sensitivity and no correlation with lipids was found.
Conclusion: Statistical analysis revealed that almost all correlations of DHEA, DHEA-S, resp., with adiposity and fat distribution in men as well as in women disappeared after the adjustment for age. However, there are differences between men and women in the correlations of DHEA(S) with insulin sensitivity, lipid levels and other steroid hormons. In this respect the benefit of the DHEA(S) supplementation seems at least regarding its alleged antiobesity and antidiabetogenic effects to be more than controversial.
Study was approved by local Ethical Committee, supported by IGA MH CR NR/7809-5, MSMT COST OC B17.10.