Research Article| Volume 136, ISSUE 1, P99-107, January 01, 1998

Dehydroepiandrosterone protects low density lipoproteins against peroxidation by free radicals produced by γ-radiolysis of ethanol–water mixtures


      Oxidized low density lipoproteins (LDL) are believed to play a central role in the events that initiate atherosclerosis. Antioxidants have been shown to decrease the oxidation of LDL, leading to the diminution of atherosclerosis. Since it is well-known that decreased levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are linked to the development of atherosclerosis, we studied the modulation of the oxidation of LDL by DHEA. LDL were obtained from 10 healthy subjects and oxidized by free radicals produced by γ-radiolysis of ethanol–water mixtures. The formation of conjugated dienes and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), the vitamin E content, as well as the incorporation of 4-[14C]DHEA in LDL and the chemotactic effect of oxidized LDL in the presence of DHEA towards monocytes, were investigated. It was found that DHEA was able to inhibit the oxidation of LDL by reducing over 90% of the conjugated dienes and TBARS formation, as well as by reducing the vitamin E disappearance and significantly decreasing the chemotactic activity towards monocytes. Our results suggest that DHEA exerts its antioxidative effect by protecting the endogenous vitamin E of LDL.


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