Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Thorax. 2000 Dec;55(12):1046-51.

Decreased plasma levels of nitric oxide derivatives in obstructive sleep apnoea: response to CPAP therapy.

Author information

  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Justus-Liebig University, 35392 Giebetaen, Germany.



Reduced endothelium dependent vasodilation has been reported in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) but direct measurements of the most potent naturally occurring vasodilator, nitric oxide (NO) or its derivatives (nitrate and nitrite, NO(x)), have not yet been performed in these patients.


In 21 patients with OSA of mean (SE) age 54 (2) years, body mass index (BMI) 30.9 (1.1) kg/m(2), and apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) 37 (4)/h, NO(x) levels were measured in peripheral venous blood samples by chemiluminescence. Blood samples were obtained before and after two nights of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and after 5.5 (1.5) months of follow up. Thirteen age matched, healthy volunteers and 18 patients without OSA but with a similar spectrum of comorbidity served as controls (control groups 1 and 2).


Before CPAP NO(x) levels were 21.7 (1.5) microM in patients with OSA compared with 42.6 (2.2) microM and 36.7 (1.7) microM in control groups 1 and 2, respectively (p<0.01 for each comparison). NO(x) concentrations increased to 32.1 (2.7) microM after two nights of CPAP and remained constant at 32.9 (2.3) microM at follow up (p<0.01 compared with levels before CPAP).


Plasma NO(x) levels are reduced in OSA and can be increased by short and long term CPAP therapy. Although the precise mechanism underlying this observation remains to be clarified, it may have important implications for the development of cardiovascular disease in patients with OSA and for the life saving effect of CPAP.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk