(= DHEA)Predominant androgen secreted from the adrenal cortex, an intermediate in androgen and oestrogen biosynthesis. Can be converted to sulphate (DHEA-S) the predominant plasma form. can be converted to potent androgens and oestrogens. Considered to play an important immunomodulatory role and the decline in DHEA levels with age correlates with reduced immune competence. Administration especially to postmenopausal women is claimed to bring benefit, especially in bone mineralization. Has been shown to have tumour suppressive and antiproliferative effects in rodent tumours.
Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.