Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate derivative (DHEA - S) are weak androgens produced in the adrenals and serve as primary precursors in biosynthesis of both, androgens and estrogens. These hormones are proposed to perform immunoenhancing activities and may play a crucial role in regulating cytokine production by Th1/Th2 cells; however, their role in immune-mediated diseases is controversial. The primary physiological role of DHEA-(S) and its mechanism is unclear. This review is a brief summary of relevant scientific basis as well as clinical research on the role of dehydroepiandrosterone in immune haemostasis and inflammatory diseases, including asthma, atopic diseases, chronic urticaria, pointing also to the significance of dehydroepiandrosterone therapy and the related US patents (1999-2005).
Keywords: Dehydroepiandrosterone, asthma, allergic diseases, urticaria
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