We have tested the hypothesis that acute administration of oral Dehydroepiandrosterone during episodes of repeated hypoglycemia can prevent the development of hypoglycemia associated neuroendocrine and autonomic failure in healthy humans. Twenty seven individuals (16M/11F) participated in two separate randomized single-blind, 2 day protocols. Day 1 consisted of morning and afternoon 2 hr hypoglycemic clamps (2.9mmol/L) with 800 mg of DHEA or placebo administered before each clamp. Day 2 consisted of single 2 hr hypoglycemic clamp (2.9mmol/L) following either DHEA (1600mg) or placebo. 3-tritiated glucose was used to determine glucose kinetics during day 2 hypoglycemia. Antecedent hypoglycemia with placebo resulted in significant reductions of epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucagon, growth hormone, cortisol, endogenous glucose production, lipolytic and symptom responses. During day 2 hypoglycemia DHEA prevented blunting of all neuroendocrine, autonomic nervous system (ANS), metabolic and symptom counterregulatory responses following day 1 hypoglycemia. In summary, DHEA can acutely preserve a wide range of key neuroendocrine, ANS and metabolic counterregulatory homeostatic responses during repeated hypoglycemia. We conclude that DHEA can have acute effects to protect against hypoglycemia associated neuroendocrine and autonomic failure in healthy humans.
- Received March 28, 2016.
- Accepted July 14, 2016.
- © 2016 by the American Diabetes Association.