Dehydroepiandrosterone, an endogenous immune modulator, after traumatic shock

Michael J. Schurr, Timothy C. Fabian, Martin A. Croce, Lisa E. Varnavas, Kenneth G. Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), an endogenous immune modulator, reduces mortality after endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) administration in rodents. However, there have been no studies in clinically relevant large-animal models. A unique experimental model is used to study the effects of DHEA in resuscitated trauma and to evaluate the protective effect of DHEA on the systemic inflammatory response induced by a delayed LPS challenge. Anesthetized, ventilated pigs were instrumented and then subjected to local hind-limb trauma and 35% hemorrhage. After 1 h, animals were resuscitated with shed blood, supplemental Ringers solution, and in a randomized, blinded fashion, 4 mg/kg of DHEA or vehicle. Two additional groups received 10 mg/kg or 20 mg/kg of DHEA. Animals were dosed again at 24, 48, and 72 h. After 75 h, Escherichia coli LPS was administered. LPS caused a fall in DHEA levels (0.23 ±.05 ng/mL (60 min post-LPS) versus .94 ± 35 ng/mL (72 h), p = .01). DHEA levels 60 min post-LPS were significantly higher in treated animals (p < .002). After LPS, all groups manifested progressive septic symptoms with a hyperdynamic state and pulmonary failure. These symptoms were not blunted by the administration of DHEA. DHEA levels are suppressed by LPS in this two-stage model of trauma and delayed sepsis; however, exogenous DHEA administration fails to blunt the associated systemic inflammatory response and pulmonary failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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