Dehydroepiandrosterone as predictor for progression to AIDS in asymptomatic human immunodeficiency virus-infected men.


Mulder JW, Frissen PH, Krijnen P, Endert E, de Wolf F, et al.




J Infect Dis


The steroid hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) has been reported to protect against certain viral infections in animal models and to be a modest inhibitor of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in vitro. Serum DHEA levels were determined in 41 asymptomatic HIV-1-seropositive subjects, who progressed to AIDS within 5 years after entering a cohort study, in 41 HIV-1-seropositive controls, who remained asymptomatic, and in 41 HIV-1-seronegative controls. At entry, DHEA levels were higher in the seronegative group (median, 13.3 nmol/l) than in either the seropositive nonprogressors (median, 9.2 nmol/l; P = .01) or the progressors (median, 7.2 nmol/l; P less than .001). DHEA levels in the progressors approximately 5 months before the diagnosis of AIDS were lower than the levels in the nonprogressors after the same follow-up (median, 5.6 vs. 8.8 nmol/l; P = .007). DHEA levels less than 7 nmol/l and CD4+ cell counts less than 0.5 x 10(9)/l both proved to be independent predictors for disease progression in HIV-1-infected men.