Recent studies revealed that oral dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) reduced weight gain in genetically obese mice without affecting their food intake. We aimed to compare the association of DHEA and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) levels with obesity, fat distribution and insulin resistance in different groups of postmenopausal women. Thirty postmenopausal women were divided into age-matched three groups; Group-I: 10 obese women with Type II diabetes mellitus, group-II: 10 obese women without diabetes, group III: (Controls); 10 nonobese and nondiabetic women. Body mass index (BMI), waist-hip ratio (WHR), and insulin resistance (by hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp studies) were calculated in all groups. Plasma DHEA and DHEAS levels were also measured. Women in group-I and II had significantly higher WHR than control women, indicating central deposition of body fat (p=0.039, p=0.041 respectively). As expected, insulin resistance was most significant in obese and diabetic women (group-I). Following them obese but nondiabetic women (group-II) had more insulin resistance than women without obesity and diabetes (group-III). DHEA and DHEAS levels of women with obesity and diabetes (group-I) were greater than those of group-II and group-III. Group-III had the lowest DHEA and DHEAS levels in all women. DHEA and DHEAS were positively correlated with both BMI and WHR. However, glucose disposal rate was inversely and significantly correlated with DHEA and DHEAS levels. These data do not support the hypothesis that DHEA or DHEAS protect postmenopausal women against diabetes and obesity. These findings suggest that increasing levels of DHEA and DHEAS may be associated with weight gain, central obesity and reduced insulin sensitivity.
Keywords: Dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, obesity, waist-hip ratio, insulin resistance, postmenopausal women