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Chin Med J (Engl). 2013 Jan;126(1):5-10.

Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with impaired glucose metabolism in Han Chinese subjects.

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  • 1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Shanghai Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China.



Increasingly, evidence from population, clinic-based and laboratory studies supports an independent association between obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes; however, this observation has yet to be replicated in China and the potential mechanisms that link these two conditions are not clear.


A total of 179 Han Chinese subjects were enrolled in this study. All subjects underwent polysomnography, the oral glucose tolerance-insulin releasing test (OGTT-IRT) and serum HbA(1)c measurement. Indexes including homeostasis model assessment-IR (HOMA-IR), Matsuda index, HOMA-β, early phase insulinogenic index (ΔI(30)/ΔG(30)), AUC-I(180) and oral disposition index (DIo) were calculated for the assessment of insulin resistance and pancreatic β-cell function.


Based on OGTT, 25.4%, 44.6% and 54.5% subjects were diagnosed having glucose metabolic disorders respectively in control, mild to moderate and severe OSAS groups (P < 0.05). Serum HbA(1)c levels were highest in subjects with severe OSAS (P < 0.05). In contrast, compared with normal subjects, HOMA-β, ΔI(30)/Δ(G30) and DIO were lower in severe OSAS group (P < 0.05). In stepwise multiple linear regressions, 0-min glucose and HbA(1)c were positively correlated with the percentage of total sleep time below an oxyhemoglobin saturation of 90% (T90) (Beta = 0.215 and 0.368, P < 0.05); 30-min and 60-min glucose was negatively correlated with the lowest SpOO(2) (LSpO(2)) (Beta = -0.214 and -0.241, P < 0.05). HOMA-β and DI(O) were negatively correlated with T90 (Beta = -0.153 and -0.169, P < 0.05) while body mass index (BMI) was the only determinant of HOMA-IR and Matsuda index.


OSAS is associated with impairment in glucose tolerance and pancreatic β-cell function in Han Chinese subjects while insulin sensitivity is mainly determined by obesity.

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