Serum DHEA-S concentration correlates with clinical symptoms and neurocognitive function in patients with bipolar II disorder: A case-controlled study

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Dysregulation of the neuroendocrine system including dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), and pregnenolone may play a role in the pathophysiology of bipolar II disorder (BP-II). The aims of the current study are to determine (a) the differences in DHEA, DHEA-S and pregnenolone in patients with BP-II and controls; and (b) the correlation of levels of the above hormones, cognitive function, and clinical symptoms.


Patients diagnosed with BP-II and healthy controls were recruited from psychiatric department. Blood samples were collected to measure the levels of DHEA, DHEA-S and pregnenolone in all participants, followed by assessment of cognitive function using the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Affective Disorders (BACA).


A total of 32 patients BP-II and 30 healthy control subjects were recruited. The BP-II group was found with significantly elder age, fewer years of education, and lower BACA composite scores compared to the healthy controls. The level of DHEA-S was significantly associated with performance in BACA when controlling for age, gender, years of education and having BP-II (P = 0.018). The DHEA-S level was significantly correlated with mania score (r = − 0.498, P = 0.010).


Our findings support that serum level of DHEA-S may be a biomarker representing clinical manic symptoms and cognitive performance.

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