The role of dehydroepiandrosterone in AIDS.


Centurelli MA, Abate MA




Ann Pharmacother


The use of DHEA for the treatment of AIDS shows some promise, although controlled trials have not been performed to evaluate its efficacy. Low serum concentrations of DHEA have been correlated with states of decreased immune function in humans, since concentrations are lowest in early childhood, late adulthood, and as HIV disease progresses. DHEA appears to possess immunomodulating effects, perhaps by enhancing the secretion of IL-2 from activated T cells as demonstrated in a murine model. A decline in DHEA concentrations, particularly when initially less than 2.01 micrograms/L, might also prove to be a predictor of HIV disease progression. It is also plausible that a decrease in DHEA concentrations can be used to predict a decline in overall health status. Although the role of DHEA in the treatment of AIDS has not yet been determined, the drug appears to show potential for clinical benefit that should be evaluated in large, randomized, controlled trials.