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ProductsDHEA RIA Test
Company Diagnostic Systems Laboratories, Inc.
Item DHEA RIA Test
Description Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is produced in the adrenal cortex and, to a lesser extent, the gonads [1,2,3]. DHEA serves as a precursor in testosterone and estrogen synthesis, and has relatively weak androgenic activity, estimated at ~10% that of testosterone [1]. However, in neonates, peripubertal children and in adult women, DHEA is an important androgen as circulating DHEA levels may be several-fold higher than testosterone concentrations, and rapid peripheral tissue conversion to more potent androgens (androstenedione and testosterone) and estrogens may occur. In addition, DHEA has a relatively low affinity for sex-hormone binding globulin. DHEA is rapidly cleared from the circulation compared to the sulfated conjugate, DHEA-S.

Measurement of serum DHEA is a useful marker of adrenal androgen synthesis. Abnormally low levels may occur in hypoadrenalism, while elevated levels occur in several conditions including virilizing adrenal adenoma and carcinoma, 21-hydroxylase and 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiencies and in some cases of female hirsutism [3]. Because very little DHEA is produced by the gonads, measurement of DHEA levels may aid in the localization of androgen source in virilizing conditions.

  1. Dorfman RI, Shipley RA: Androgens. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1956, pp. 116-128.
  2. Meikle AW, et al. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am 20:381-400, 1991.
  3. Pang S & Riddick L: Hirsutism. IN Lifshitz F (ed): Pediatric Endocrinology, A Clinical Guide, second edition. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 1990, pp. 259-291.
Info Diagnostic Systems Laboratories, Inc.
Customer Service: (800) 231-7970
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