Metabolic effects of dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women.


Lasco A, Frisina N, Morabito N, Gaudio A, Morini E, Trifiletti A, Basile G, Nicita-Mauro V, Cucinotta D.




Eur J Endocrinol


OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether long-term treatment with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in postmenopausal women can modify insulin sensitivity and plasma lipid profile. DESIGN AND METHODS: Twenty healthy postmenopausal women with serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) concentrations <2.5 micromol/l were enrolled and randomly assigned to two different treatment groups: group 1 were treated with micronized DHEA, 25 mg/day at 0800 h for 12 months; group 2 were treated with an identical placebo tablet. At the beginning and at the end of the study, plasma lipid profile, glucose tolerance (oral glucose tolerance test) and insulin sensitivity (euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp: M index) were assessed. RESULTS: After 12 months, the group treated with DHEA showed a considerable improvement of insulin sensitivity (M index +29.55%, P=0.01) and lipid pattern (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol +11.61%, P=0.03; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol -11.07%, P=0.04; triglycerides -19.60%, P=0.03), but glucose tolerance did not change. No modifications were observed in the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term treatment with DHEA ameliorates some metabolic parameters that are linked to increased cardiovascular risk and, consequently, this seems to be an interesting therapeutic tool in the management of the postmenopausal syndrome.