Clinical information

The prohormones dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulphate (DHEA-S) are produced in the zona reticularis of the adrenal gland and are the most frequent steroid hormones in humans.  In the target organs, they are processed into androstenedione and subsequently to androgens (testosterone and dihydrotestosterone) and/or oestrogens. DHEA and DHEA-S can be enzymatically converted into the respective other form. DHEA-S in blood is considered a reservoir for the formation of bioactive hormones in organs.

The concentrations of both substances vary significantly over the course of life of men and women. They are high in utero and decrease after birth. They increase again at the moment of adrenarche, that is, at the age of around 8 years ‒ DHEA/-S are therefore biomarkers of adrenarche. The DHEA/-S concentrations reach the highest level at the age of around 20 years; afterwards they decrease steadily.


Increased levels of DHEA/-S are found in the sera of 20 to 30% of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). With classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), in which the adrenal gland produces increased amounts of androgens, the DHEA/-S concentrations are paradoxically often low. With non-classic CAH, the DHEA/-S blood levels are often normal.

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dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
antibody-coated mircoplate wells
dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)
microplate wells
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