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Neuroprotective-Neurotrophic Effect of Endogenous Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate During Intense Stress Exposure
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Context Recent reports demonstrate neurotrophic properties of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate DHEAS in men at rest, as well as profound neurotrophic responses to stress in both men and women. Little is known of neuroprotectiveneurotrophic effects of DHEAS during stress exposure, either in men or women. Objective This translational study was designed to examine neuroprotective-neurotrophic effects of DHEAS throughout intense stress exposure in healthy men and women. Setting The study took place within a stressful 12-day military survival course. Design Participants were studied before, during, and 24 hours after the course. Participants One hundred sixteen healthy active-duty military personnel 80 male were studied. Main Outcome Measures The dependent variable was the neurotrophin salivary nerve growth factor sNGF. Results In terms of total hormone output, the effect of DHEAS on sNGF was mediated by testosterone. Unlike testosterone or cortisol, DHEAS reliably predicted sNGF at each time point, and change in DHEAS predicted change in sNGF across time points. Baseline DHEAS predicted total sNGF output across the stress trajectory. Conclusion Consistent with preclinical as well as cross-sectional human research, this study demonstrates neuroprotective-neurotrophic effects of DHEAS in healthy men and women exposed to intense stress. Results are evaluated in relation to Hill s criteria for causation.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE