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Eur Respir J. 2003 Aug;22(2):251-7.

Leptin and ghrelin levels in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea: effect of CPAP treatment.

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Medical Dept 1, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.


Serum leptin and ghrelin levels were investigated in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) syndrome before and during continuous positive airways pressure (CPAP) treatment and compared with body mass index (BMI)-matched controls without OSA. Male patients (n=30) with OSA (apnoea/hypopnoea index=58+/-16, BMI=32.6+/-5.3 kg x m(-2)) underwent CPAP treatment. Fasting leptin and ghrelin were measured at baseline and 2 days, and in the case of leptin 2 months after initiation of treatment. Baseline plasma ghrelin levels were significantly higher in OSA patients than in controls. After 2 days of CPAP treatment, plasma ghrelin decreased in almost all OSA patients (n=9) to levels that were only slightly higher than those of controls (n=9). Leptin levels did not change significantly from baseline after 2 days of CPAP treatment, but were higher than in the control group. After 8 weeks, leptin levels decreased significantly, although the BMI of the patients showed no change. The decrease in leptin levels was more pronounced in patients with a BMI <30 kg x m(-2). These data indicate that the elevated leptin and ghrelin levels are not determined by obesity alone, since they rapidly decreased during continuous positive airways pressure therapy.

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