Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) is observed to be decreased in sepsis and inflammatory conditions. In the present study, we assessed the levels of DHEAS and cortisol and the DHEAS/cortisol ratio and their association with inflammatory markers in patients with COVID-19.
The study recruited 76 RT-PCR-positive COVID-19-positive patients and 79 healthy controls. The blood samples were collected and were analyzed for cortisol and DHEAS.
We observed decreased levels of DHEAS and DHEAS/cortisol ratio and increased levels of cortisol in cases when compared with controls. DHEAS and DHEAS/cortisol ratio showed a decreasing trend with the increase in disease severity.
The present study is the first of its kind comparing DHEAS levels and DHEAS/cortisol ratio in COVID-19 patients and control subjects. DHEAS, with its inhibitory effect on IL6 and activation of Tregs, may play a crucial role in immune defense mechanisms against COVID-19.