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Dehydroepiandrosterone and Pregnenolone

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Hormone Replacement Therapy

Part of the book series: Contemporary Endocrinology ((COE,volume 13))

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Abstract

Steroid hormones play a multifactorial role in human physiology. They facilitate coordinative processes that enable neural, endocrine, immune, and metabolic systems, separately or collectively, to operate in solving problems of survival and reproduction. Both pregnenolone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are key hormones early in the pathway of steroid hormones biosynthesis (Fig. 1). Actually, pregnenolone is the precursor of all the known steroid hormones, and its formation from cholesterol via the action of cytochrome P450scc, is the rate limiting step in steroid hormone formation. DHEA and its sulfated conjugate, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), on the other hand, serve as precursors for both androgenic and estrogenic steroids, and are the most abundant steroid hormones in the human body. The plasma levels of both DHEA and pregnenolone have been shown to decline progressively with advancing age. Furthermore, based on multiple animal and human studies, there is now accumulating evidence to suggest a potential role for both these hormones in the prevention of multiple morbidities associated with the aging process. This chapter reviews the biological roles of DHEA and pregnenolone and draws implications for their possible role as antiaging agents.

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Sih, R., Kamel, H., Horani, M., Morley, J.E. (1999). Dehydroepiandrosterone and Pregnenolone. In: Meikle, A.W. (eds) Hormone Replacement Therapy. Contemporary Endocrinology, vol 13. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-59259-700-0_15

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