The relationship of circulating dehydroepiandrosterone, testosterone, and estradiol to stages of the menopausal transition and ethnicity

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; African Continental Ancestry Group; Age Distribution; Asian Continental Ancestry Group; Body Mass Index; Cohort Studies; Dehydroepiandrosterone; Estradiol; European Continental Ancestry Group; Female; Humans; Menopause; Middle Aged; Smoking; Testosterone


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Studies


In this report, 3029 women between the ages of 42 and 54 yr from five ethnic groups were studied for 2 yr. Log circulating dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) concentrations were highest among Chinese and Japanese and lowest among African Americans and Hispanics, and this pattern persisted after adjustment for age, smoking, and log body mass index (BMI). With the exception of Japanese women, log BMI was negatively related to log circulating DHEAS. The magnitude of this association varied by ethnic group, and the decline in log circulating DHEAS levels with higher log BMI was steepest for Chinese and least steep for Hispanics. The relationship between log DHEAS and log BMI was positive for Japanese. DHEAS levels did not decline at a steady rate during the menopausal transition and transiently increased in some women and increased, on average, during the transition to late perimenopause. These increases tended to be larger for Chinese, Hispanic, and Japanese than for African Americans and Caucasians, although the interactions were not statistically significant. Changes in circulating testosterone and, to a lesser extent, estradiol were correlated to changes in DHEAS. These data have importance in understanding the endocrinology of the menopausal transition, defining the relationship of adrenal steroid production during declining ovarian function and determining a rationale regarding DHEAS supplementation for older women.

DOI of Published Version



J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Aug;87(8):3760-7.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID