REVIEW DHEA can be understood as a prohormone for the sex steroids. DHEAS may be viewed as buffer and reservoir. As most DHEA is produced by the zona reticularis of the adrenal cortex, it is argued that there is a role in the immune and stress response. As almost all DHEA is derived from the adrenal glands, blood measurements of DHEAS/DHEA are useful to detect excess adrenal activity as seen in adrenal cancer or hyperplasia, including certain forms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome tend to have elevated levels of DHEAS.
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