- Steroid agent related to male hormones that have been advocated as able to prevent physiologic consequences of aging, without studies that show benefit or safety.
* * *de·hy·dro·epi·an·dros·ter·one (.)dē-.hī-drō-.ep-ē-an-'dräs-tə-.rōn n an androgenic ketosteroid C19H28O2 secreted by the adrenal cortex that is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of testosterone abbr. DHA, DHEA
* * *n.a weak androgen produced and secreted by the adrenal glands after the stage of adrenal maturation known as adrenarche. It is produced from 17-hydroxypregnenolone and itself is largely converted to dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate and androstenedione. All three of these molecules can cause a degree of mild androgenization but can also be converted in the circulation to the more potent androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.
* * *de·hy·dro·epi·an·dros·ter·one (DHEA) (de-hi″dro-ep″e-an-drosґtər-ōn) a steroid secreted by the adrenal cortex, the major androgen precursor in females; it is often present in excessive amounts in body fluids of patients with adrenal virilism. During pregnancy it diffuses into the syncytiotrophoblasts and is metabolized to form estrogen; by the third trimester it metabolizes at nine times the rate seen in a nonpregnant woman. Because DHEA levels decrease dramatically with age, a link has been postulated between DHEA and the human aging process, and it has been used as an anti-aging supplement. Supplemental DHEA has also been used to treat or prevent heart disease and osteoporosis and to enhance immune function, cognitive function, mood, quality of life, and sexual function. Called also dehydroisoandrosterone and, formerly, dehydroandrosterone.
Medical dictionary. 2011.