Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an endogenous steroid hormone involved in a number of biological actions. This study shows the effects of DHEA on glucose metabolism, hydrogen peroxide and thioredoxin levels in the skeletal muscle of control and diabetic rats.
Control and diabetic rats were chronically treated with DHEA (10mg/kg) diluted in oil. Plasma concentration of DHEA and glucose, glucose uptake and oxidation, hydrogen peroxide, GLUT4, Akt and thioredoxin (Trx) was measured in the muscle.
Results showed that there was a decrease in blood glucose in diabetic rats, probably linked to an increase in the glucose oxidation by the muscle or glucose uptake by some tissues. Despite the increase in the expression of GLUT4 in DHEA-treated rats, the glucose uptake was only higher in the control rats, showing that the glucose transporter may be present but not functional in the diabetic rats. The low expression of Trx due to diabetes became even lower with DHEA treatment.
Although the reduction in blood glucose may be favorable, the decrease in Akt and Trx displays an environment conducive to redox imbalance. Thus, further studies are needed to ascertain the effects of DHEA treatment in diabetic rats.