Trajectories of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate predict mortality in older adults: The cardiovascular health study

Anne R. Cappola, Ellen S. O'Meara, Wensheng Guo, Traci M. Bartz, Linda P. Fried, Anne B. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


BackgroundDehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) has been proposed as an antiaging hormone, but its importance is unclear. Assessment of an individual's ability to maintain a DHEAS set point, through examination of multiple DHEAS levels over time, may provide insight into biologic aging.MethodsUsing Cox proportional hazard models, we examined the relationship between DHEAS trajectory patterns and all-cause death in 950 individuals aged ≥65 years who were enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study and had DHEAS levels measured at three to six time points.ResultsOverall, there was a slight decline in DHEAS levels over time (-0.013 μg/mL/y). Three trajectory components were examined: slope, variability, and baseline DHEAS. When examined individually, a steep decline or extreme variability in DHEAS levels was associated with higher mortality (p <. 001 for each), whereas baseline DHEAS level was not. In adjusted models including all three components, steep decline (hazard ratio [HR] 1.75, confidence interval [CI] 1.32-2.33) and extreme variability (HR 1.89, CI 1.47-2.43) remained significant predictors of mortality, whereas baseline DHEAS level remained unpredictive of mortality (HR 0.97 per standard deviation, CI 0.88-1.07). The effect of trajectory pattern was more pronounced in men than in women. Individuals with both a steep decline and extreme variability in DHEAS levels had a significantly higher death rate than those with neither pattern (141 vs 48 deaths per 1,000 person-years, p <. 001).ConclusionsOur data show significant heterogeneity in the individual trajectories of DHEAS levels and suggest that these trajectories provide important biologic information about the rate of aging, whereas the DHEAS level itself does not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1268-1274
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • DHEA
  • Elderly
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Trajectories of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate predict mortality in older adults: The cardiovascular health study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this