Neuroprotective-neurotrophic effect of endogenous dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate during intense stress exposure

Marcus K. Taylor, Michael Stone, Heidemarie K. Laurent, Mitchell J. Rauh, Douglas A. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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 neuroprotective-neurotrophic effects of DHEAS during stress exposure, either in men or women. This translational study was designed to examine neuroprotective-neurotrophic effects of DHEAS throughout intense stress exposure in healthy men and women. The study took place within a stressful 12-day military survival course. Utilizing a longitudinal cross-sectional repeated measures design, One hundred sixteen healthy active-duty military personnel (80% male) were studied before, during, and 24 h after the course. The dependent variable was the neurotrophin salivary nerve growth factor (sNGF). 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. 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 established criteria for causation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-58
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Sep 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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