Oral dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation modulates spontaneous and growth hormone-releasing hormone-induced growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 secretion in early and late postmenopausal women.


Genazzani AD, Stomati M, Strucchi C, Puccetti S, Luisi S, Genazzani AR.




Fertil Steril


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on the growth hormone-releasing hormone-growth hormone (GHRH-GH) axis in lean and obese postmenopausal women. DESIGN: Prospective study. SETTING: Postmenopausal women in a clinical research environment. PATIENT(S): Thirty-one postmenopausal women were divided in two groups by age (50 to 55 and 60 to 65 years). Within each group, lean and obese patients were considered. INTERVENTION(S): All patients underwent hormonal evaluations before and at the third and sixth month of therapy (50 mg of DHEA orally each day) and a GHRH test (1 microg/kg) before and at the sixth month of treatment. Ultrasound and bone mass density (BMD) examinations were performed before and after the sixth month of therapy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Plasma dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), E1, E2, androstenedione (A), testosterone (T), osteocalcin, GH, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) concentrations. RESULT(S): The levels of all of the steroids that derived from DHEA metabolism (E1, E2, A, T, DHEAS) and osteocalcin were increased in plasma under DHEA supplementation. The supplementation protocol also increased the levels of GH and IGF-1. However, GHRH-induced GH and IGF-1 responses were not modified by DHEA supplementation. CONCLUSION(S): Administration of DHEA significantly affects several endocrine parameters in early and late postmenopausal women independently from body mass index. Our data support the hypothesis that DHEA treatment acts similarly to estrogen-progestin replacement therapy on the GHRH-GH-IGF-1 axis. This suggests that DHEA is more than a more than a simple "diet supplement" or "antiaging product"; rather it should be considered an effective hormonal replacement treatment.