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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Oct 1;172(7):921-9. Epub 2005 Jun 30.

NADPH oxidase mediates hypersomnolence and brain oxidative injury in a murine model of sleep apnea.

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  • 1Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3600 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Persons with obstructive sleep apnea may have significant residual hypersomnolence, despite therapy. Long-term hypoxia/reoxygenation events in adult mice, simulating oxygenation patterns of moderate-severe sleep apnea, result in lasting hypersomnolence, oxidative injury, and proinflammatory responses in wake-active brain regions. We hypothesized that long-term intermittent hypoxia activates brain NADPH oxidase and that this enzyme serves as a critical source of superoxide in the oxidation injury and in hypersomnolence.

OBJECTIVES:

We sought to determine whether long-term hypoxia/reoxygenation events in mice result in NADPH oxidase activation and whether NADPH oxidase is essential for the proinflammatory response and hypersomnolence.

METHODS:

NADPH oxidase gene and protein responses were measured in wake-active brain regions in wild-type mice exposed to long-term hypoxia/reoxygenation. Sleep and oxidative and proinflammatory responses were measured in adult mice either devoid of NADPH oxidase activity (gp91phox-null mice) or in which NADPH oxidase activity was systemically inhibited with apocynin osmotic pumps throughout hypoxia/reoxygenation.

MAIN RESULTS:

Long-term intermittent hypoxia increased NADPH oxidase gene and protein responses in wake-active brain regions. Both transgenic absence and pharmacologic inhibition of NADPH oxidase activity throughout long-term hypoxia/reoxygenation conferred resistance to not only long-term hypoxia/reoxygenation hypersomnolence but also to carbonylation, lipid peroxidation injury, and the proinflammatory response, including inducible nitric oxide synthase activity in wake-active brain regions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Collectively, these findings strongly support a critical role for NADPH oxidase in the lasting hypersomnolence and oxidative and proinflammatory responses after hypoxia/reoxygenation patterns simulating severe obstructive sleep apnea oxygenation, highlighting the potential of inhibiting NADPH oxidase to prevent oxidation-mediated morbidities in obstructive sleep apnea.

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