Reduction in DNA damage in brain and peripheral blood lymphocytes of elderly dogs after treatment with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).


Shen S, Cooley DM, Glickman LT, Glickman N, Waters DJ.




Mutat Res


Steady state levels of DNA damage are substantial in vertebrate animals as a consequence of exposure to endogenous and environmental mutagens. DNA damage may contribute to organismal senescence and an increased risk for specific age-related diseases. In this study, we determined if treatment with the neuroactive adrenal steroid, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which exhibits antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties in rodents, would reduce DNA damage in the brain and peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) of elderly dogs. Elderly male dogs, physiologically equivalent to 59-69-year-old men, were randomly assigned to receive no treatment (n=9 dogs) or DHEA at 100mg/kg PO daily (n=8 dogs). Extent of DNA damage in brain cells and PBLs was measured using alkaline comet assay. The effect of DHEA treatment on the susceptibility of PBLs to H(2)O(2)-induced DNA damage was also measured. We found that elderly male dogs receiving daily DHEA treatment for 7 months had significantly less DNA damage detectable in their brain compared to age-matched control dogs. After 7 months treatment, DHEA-treated dogs also had a significant reduction in DNA damage in PBLs compared to pre-treatment levels. We also found that PBLs of dogs treated with DHEA were more resistant to H(2)O(2)-induced DNA damage than PBLs of untreated dogs. Our results did not show that basal DNA damage in PBLs was strongly correlated with DNA damage within the brain. The results of this study suggest that DHEA supplementation can significantly reduce steady state levels of DNA damage in the mammalian brain. Further evaluation of DHEA as a neuroactive agent and its effects on DNA damage and gene expression in other tissues and species is warranted.