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J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2006 Jan;26(1):34-9.

The effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on in vitro spleen cell proliferation and cytokine production.

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Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310-1495, USA.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a weak androgenic steroid, has been associated with enhancing immune responses and upregulating resistance against viral, parasitic, and bacterial infections. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of DHEA on murine spleen cell viability, proliferation, and cytokine production following in vitro stimulation with the mitogens concanavalin A (ConA) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Results showed that exposure to 6 microM DHEA significantly decreased the viability and proliferation of murine spleen cells stimulated with LPS, whereas no effect was seen on murine spleen cells stimulated with ConA. DHEA did influence the production of both ConA-induced and LPS-induced cytokines. DHEA also significantly reduced the mitogen-induced production of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-1) as well as the Th1 cytokines IL-2 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). Increasing concentrations of DHEA significantly increased the production of the Th2 cytokine IL-10 but had no effect on the production of the Th2 cytokine IL-4, the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), or IL-6. These results suggest that DHEA may be an important factor for increasing Th2 cytokine production and decreasing Th1 and proinflammatory cytokine production. This study provides a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of DHEA on the rates of cell proliferation, cell viability, and cytokine production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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