Hyperglycemia is known to reduce dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) circulating levels; however, the mechanism by which hyperglycemia decreases DHEA is not elucidated. In this study, serum DHEA and DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S) levels were compared in 50 men with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and 50 age-matched men with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) receiving only diet therapy. Serum concentrations of DHEA and DHEA-S in the NIDDM group were significantly lower than in the IGT group (7.8 and 9.7 nmol/l vs 3.4 and 4.9 μmol/l, respectively; p < 0.01) but there was no significant difference in immunoreactive insulin between the two groups. When the results from both groups were combined, HbA(1C) was significantly inversely related to DHEA (r = -0.243, p < 0.01) and DHEA-S (r = -0.305, p < 0.01). Immunoreactive insulin showed no correlation with DHEA and DHEA-S. Multiple regression analysis showed that HbA(1C) was independently negatively related to both DHEA and DHEA-S. We conclude that hyperglycemia may decrease serum DHEA and DHEA-S in Japanese men with NIDDM, but the depression of DHEA(-S) is independent of serum insulin level.
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