Liquid Chromatography - Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
DHEA is the primary adrenal androgen and is an important precursor in the biosynthesis of testosterone and estrogens. Nevertheless, circulating DHEA does not appear to be a major precursor of testosterone in cases of androgen excess. It has also been shown that FREE DHEA may be derived in large part from the hydrolysis of circulating DHEA-sulfate, the most abundant adrenal steroid known. Free DHEA levels are often used in conjunction with plasma testosterone, androstenedione, and DHEA-sulfate. Measurement of DHEA using this assay is useful for diagnosis of disorders related to adrenal androgen production including (1) adrenal hyperplasia (2) adrenal tumors (3) adrenarche (4) delayed puberty and (5) hirsutism.
*Ranges provided by Chemical Pathology, Special Testing Section
DHEA levels are elevated by estrogens, aldactone, and during pregnancy.
- Free DHEA
Collect specimen in a red top (preferred) or SST tube. Centrifuge, aliquot serum into a plastic vial and freeze.
Increased serum levels of DHEA may be associated with malignant neoplasm of the adrenal gland (virilizing adrenal tumors) and Stein-Leventhal syndrome. DHEA also may be increased in serum with administration of clomiphene and corticotropin. DHEA in the urine may be decreased due to administration of Dexamethasone (suppression of ACTH) and oral contraceptives.