HealthDay News — Blood levels of the adrenal sex hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate (DHEA-S) may predict an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in elderly men, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
“Despite the great amount of literature on vascular and metabolic actions of DHEA/-S, evidence for an association between DHEA/-S levels and cardiovascular events is contradictory,” explained Åsa Tivesten, MD, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues.
To test whether serum DHEA and DHEA-S are predictors of major CHD and/or cerebrovascular disease (CBD) events in elderly men, the investigators conducted a large cohort study involving 2,416 male patients, aged 69 to 81 years. Swedish national registries were used to evaluate cardiovascular clinical outcomes.
Over five years of follow-up, 302 participants had a CHD event, while 225 had a CBD event. There was an inverse association between both DHEA and DHEA-S levels and the age-adjusted risk of a CHD event (hazard ratios, 0.82 and 0.86, respectively).
For risk of CBD events, though, DHEA/-S had no statistically significant association. Even after adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, serum total testosterone and estradiol, C-reactive protein, and renal function, the association between DHEA and CHD risk remained significant. It also remained so after exclusion of the first 2.6 years of follow-up (an attempt to reduce reverse causality).
“Low serum levels of DHEA and its sulfate predict an increased risk of CHD, but not CBD, events in elderly men,” concluded the researchers.