Lack of effect of short-term DHEA supplementation on the perimenopausal ovary

Selva L. Luna, Donald I. Brown, Steven G. Kohama, Henryk F. Urbanski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) hormonal supplementation can improve oocyte quality in women with diminished ovarian function. However, it is unclear whether DHEA supplementation can also enhance ovarian function during the perimenopause (i.e., when the number of follicles in the ovary has undergone a marked reduction). To address this question, we examined the impact of 2.5-months of daily 5-mg oral DHEA supplementation on the number of ovarian follicles and the concentration of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in perimenopausal rhesus macaques. Like women, these long-lived nonhuman primates have ~ 28-day menstrual cycles and eventually undergo menopause. They also show similar age-related neuroendocrine changes, including a marked decrease in circulating concentrations of DHEA and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS). Our experimental design involved the following three groups of animals (N = 6 per group): Young adult (mean age = 11.6 years), Old control (mean age = 23.1 years), and Old DHEA-treated (mean age = 23.5 years). Histological examination of the ovaries revealed a significant age-related decrease in the mean number of primordial follicles despite DHEA supplementation. Moreover, AMH concentrations within the ovaries and circulation, assessed by Western analysis and ELISA, respectively, showed significant age-related decreases that were not attenuated by DHEA supplementation. Taken together, these results fail to show a clear effect of short-term physiological DHEA supplementation on the perimenopausal ovary. However, they do not exclude the possibility that alternative DHEA supplementation paradigms (e.g., involving an earlier start date, longer duration and using pharmacological doses) may extend reproductive potential during aging.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1209-1216
    Number of pages8
    JournalBiology of reproduction
    Volume103
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

    Keywords

    • AMH
    • DHEA supplementation
    • FSH
    • menopause

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Reproductive Medicine
    • Cell Biology

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