Dehydroepiandrosterone – a neurosteroid
Article first published online: 4 JAN 2002
Blackwell Science Ltd
European Journal of Clinical Investigation
Volume 30, Issue Supplement s3, pages 46–50, December 2000
How to Cite
Friess, E., Schiffelholz, T., Steckler, T. and Steiger, A. (2000), Dehydroepiandrosterone – a neurosteroid. European Journal of Clinical Investigation, 30: 46–50. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2362.2000.0300s3046.x
- Issue published online: 4 JAN 2002
- Article first published online: 4 JAN 2002
- Keywords DHEA;
Dehydroepiandrosteone (DHEA) and its sulfate ester (DHEAS) are the major secretory products of the human adrenal glands and serve as precursors for both androgenic and estrogenic steroids. DHEA/S concentrations are particularly high in the brain, and DHEA/S and related steroids can be synthesized de novo in brain glial cells. Therefore, the term ‘neurosteroids’ has been coined for these compounds.
This review summarizes findings in neurosteroid physiology on a cellular and molecular level, and outlines current concepts of how these compounds modulate physiological functions of the brain. Today, despite promising preclinical and human data the present clinical studies provide only weak evidence, if any, in favour of a DHEA replacement therapy.