Serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate are associated with a lower risk of mobility-subtype frailty in older Japanese community-dwellers
Purpose: Previous studies suggest that lower serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) are associated with physical frailty. Associations with subtypes of physical frailty have not been studied. This study aimed to investigate associations between serum DHEA-S levels and physical frailty and its subtypes in older Japanese community-dwellers using panel data.
Methods: This study was conducted within the National Institute for Longevity Sciences-Longitudinal Study of Aging (NILS-LSA). Repeated measurement data were collected from 1,886 older community-dwellers (60-91 years). Frailty was identified according to modified Cardiovascular Health Study criteria (weight loss, weakness, slowness, exhaustion, low physical activity) and was classified into following subtypes: mobility (weakness/slowness), non-mobility (weight loss/exhaustion), and low physical activity. Associations with serum DHEA-S (sex-specific tertiles [T1-T3]) were estimated by random-effects logistic regression models adjusting for age, sex, education, disease history (stroke, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes), smoking status, depressive symptoms, and survey wave.
Results: We found an average prevalence of 6.0% for frailty (mobility subtype, 7.0%; non-mobility subtype, 34.8%; low physical activity subtype, 9.4%) across survey waves. Mean (SD) sex-specific DHEA-S levels (μg/dL) at T1, T2, and T3 were 46.8 (20.8), 88.7 (28.4), and 158.0 (58.9), respectively. Compared with T1, the adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for frailty were 0.69 (0.44, 1.08) for T2 and 0.50 (0.30, 0.83) for T3 (P trend = 0.007). The corresponding values for mobility subtype were 0.80 (0.51, 1.24) for T2 and 0.55 (0.33, 0.90) for T3.
Conclusion: Higher serum DHEA-S levels were associated with lower risk of frailty, especially mobility-subtype frailty, in older community-dwellers.