The objective of the study was to relate plasma dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) concentrations to the progression of HIV infection in individual HIV-Infected men with hemophilia and to obtain information on the cause of DHEA-S alterations. Blood samples were obtained from 16 men with hemophilia; in 9 men serial samples were available for up to 11 years after HIV-1 infection. Control samples were obtained from men of comparable ages without hemophilia or HIV infection. Measurements were made of CD4+ cell counts, plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, DHEA, DHEA-S, and prolactin. Before HIV infection, men with hemophilia had significantly lower plasma levels of DHEA-S than control men. After infection, 3 of 9 subjects studied serially had little or no change in plasma DHEA- S levels or in CD4+ cell counts over 11 years. Four of the 9 in whom AIDS developed had progressive decreases in plasma DHEA-S concentrations that, in some cases, preceded a precipitous fall in CD4+ cell counts. Major decreases in plasma DHEA-S levels before falls in CD4+ counts were observed in 2 other subjects who had other severe illnesses. None of the decreases in DHEA-S levels were associated with decreased concentrations of plasma cortisol, ACTH, or prolactin. We conclude that plasma DHEA-S is an indicator of general health rather than a specific indicator for progression of HIV. The decrease in plasma DHEA-S is not related to ACTH stimulation of the adrenal gland or to cortisol secretion, but it may be related to cytokines that can inhibit 17- hydroxylation of DHEA-S precursors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine