DHEA as a biomarker of aging in humans and nonhuman primates: Synthesis, neuroprotection, and cognitive function

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfated ester (DHEAS) are two of the most abundant steroid hormones in the human circulation. Like cortisol, they are produced by the adrenal cortex and released into the circulation in a circadian pattern. Although the exact physiological roles of DHEA(S) are unclear, some of their actions may stem from intracrine conversion of DHEA(S) to estradiol within specific tissues, including cognitive brain centers. Importantly, circulating DHEA(S) concentrations decrease markedly during aging, and this decrease has been implicated in the cause of age-associated cognitive decline. However, although correlations have been demonstrated between circulating DHEA(S) concentrations and cognitive ability in certain human patient populations, such correlations have yet to be convincingly demonstrated during normal aging. Furthermore, despite DHEA being widely available in the United States, as a food supplement, there is little evidence supporting the view that physiological doses of exogenous DHEA can improve cognitive function in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAssessments, Treatments and Modeling in Aging and Neurological Disease
Subtitle of host publicationThe Neuroscience of Aging
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128180006
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Adrenalsteroids
  • Caloric restriction
  • Circadian
  • Cognitive decline
  • Cortisol
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Hormone replacement
  • Intracrinology
  • Menopause
  • Neurosteroidogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


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