Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2006 Sep;114(3):187-93.
Clinical correlates of DHEA associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Yehuda R, Brand SR, Golier JA, Yang RK.
The Traumatic Stress Studies Program, Psychiatry Department, Mount Sinai
School of Medicine, the Bronx.
Increased plasma dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and
dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS) have been demonstrated in
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the documented beneficial
effects of these steroids in enhancing mood and cognition, as well as
neuroprotection, suggest their presence in PTSD may be associated with
defensive rather than maladaptive effects. We, therefore, examined plasma
DHEA, DHEAS, cortisol, and the DHEA/cortisol ratio in 40 male veterans with
or without PTSD, and determined their relationships to PTSD symptom
severity and symptom improvement. The PTSD group showed significantly
higher plasma DHEA and non-significantly higher DHEAS levels as well as a
significantly lower cortisol/DHEA ratio, controlling for age. Regression
analyses demonstrated that DHEA and DHEAS levels could be predicted by
symptom improvement and coping, whereas the cortisol/DHEA ratio was
predicted by severity of childhood trauma and current symptom severity.
That greater symptom improvement was related to DHEA levels may suggest for
a role for these hormones in modulating recovery from PTSD.