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Military medicine

Dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate: anabolic, neuroprotective, and neuroexcitatory properties in military men.


PMID 23356127

Abstract

Evidence links dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) to crucial military health issues, including operational stress, resilience, and traumatic brain injury. This study evaluated the anabolic, neuroprotective, and neuroexcitatory properties of DHEA(S) in healthy military men. A salivary sample was obtained from 42 men and assayed for DHEA(S), testosterone, nerve growth factor (NGF; which supports nerve cell proliferation), and salivary alpha amylase (sAA; a proxy of sympathetic nervous system function). Separate regression analyses were conducted with DHEA and DHEAS as independent variables, and testosterone, NGF, and sAA as dependent variables, respectively. The models explained 23.4% of variance in testosterone (p < 0.01), 17.2% of variance in NGF (p < 0.01), and 7.4% of variance in sAA (p = 0.09). Standardized beta coefficients revealed that DHEA independently influenced testosterone (beta = 0.40, p < 0.01), whereas DHEAS independently influenced NGF (beta = 0.48, p < 0.01) and sAA (beta = 0.36, p < 0.05). DHEA demonstrated anabolic properties, whereas DHEAS demonstrated neuroprotective and neuroexcitatory properties in military men. This area of study has broad implications for stress inoculation, traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, and regenerative medicine in military personnel.

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