COVID-19 Patients Suffer From DHEA-S Deficiency

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Instiute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 Institute of Biological Sciences, School of Biology, Damghan University, Damghan, Iran.

4 Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation Research Center, Shariati Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

5 Defense Health Research Center, Tehran, Iran.

6 Department of Immunology, School of Allied Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

7 Immunoregulation Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran.

8 Immunoregulation Research Center , Shahed University< Tehran, Iran.


Background: The nervous, endocrine, and immune systems contribute to the response and dynamic adaption to various stresses. Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis has been demonstrated in various active critical illnesses. Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a disease with age and gender disparities.
Materials and Methods: In this study, a total of 125 consecutive inpatients with COVID-19 admitted to Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex from February 12, 2020, to April 4, 2020, were enrolled. The severity of patients was classified into three subgroups based on the types of oxygen therapies. Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEA-S) and cortisol levels were measured in serum of inpatients with Siemens kit.
Results: While the increase in cortisol level was not significant in COVID-19 patients, the DHEA-S level and DHEA-S/cortisol ratio significantly decreased in the patients with the increase in severity of the disease.
Conclusion: We proposed that the supplementation of DHEA, the precursor of both androgens and steroids, may ameliorate adverse outcomes of COVID-19 disease and improve COVID-19 patients’ ability to survive.