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Editor's Correspondence
July 14, 2008

Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Has Not Been Substantiated as an Anabolic Hormone

Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(13):1470. doi:10.1001/archinte.168.13.1470-a

In their assessment of the relationship between mortality and anabolic hormones, I am surprised that Maggio et al1 continue to include dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) in this group. Despite being the most abundant steroid hormone in the circulation system, the purpose of DHEA-S in humans has yet to be identified. There have been several studies looking at its effects on a number of different physiological and psychological systems that have not shed any light on its role.2 With particular respect to the role described by Maggio et al,1 observational and interventional studies have consistently failed to show a convincing relationship between muscle strength and body composition with DHEA-S levels3,4 or have had conflicting results.5,6 Thus, to class DHEA-S as an anabolic hormone is an assumption that has yet to be substantiated.