Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 148–153 | Cite as

Endocrine mechanisms of stress-induced DHEA-secretion

  • R. Oberbeck
  • R. J. Benschop
  • R. Jacobs
  • W. Hosch
  • J. U. Jetschmann
  • T. H. Schürmeyer
  • R. E. Schmidt
  • Manfred Schedlowski


Acute psychological stress of a first time parachute jump stimulated DHEA and cortisol secretion in healthy volunteers. A significant shift from cortisol to DHEA occurred during this stress exposure. This effect was more pronounced in subjects receiving the β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol prior to the jump. In contrast, infusion of epinephrine (0.10 µ/kg/min) or norepinephrine (0.15 µg/kg/min) for 20 min neither affected DHEA plasma levels nor the DHEA/cortisol ratio. However, pretreatment with propranolol resulted in a significant increase of the DHEA/cortisol ratio upon infusion of the β-adrenoceptor agonist epinephrine. These data demonstrate that during acute psychological stress stimulation of adrenal steroid release is accompanied by a shift towards DHEA. Augmentation of this effect by β-adrenoceptor blockade indicates a β-adrenoceptor-dependent mechanism affecting DHEA release.


DHEA cortisol epinephrine norepinephrine stress 


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Oberbeck
    • 1
  • R. J. Benschop
    • 1
  • R. Jacobs
    • 1
  • W. Hosch
    • 1
  • J. U. Jetschmann
    • 1
  • T. H. Schürmeyer
    • 2
  • R. E. Schmidt
    • 1
  • Manfred Schedlowski
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Clinical ImmunologyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Endocrinology and MetabolismFFP University of TrierTrierGermany
  3. 3.Division of Medical Psychology, Medical FacultyUniversity of EssenEssenGermany

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