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Transl Res. 2010 Jan;155(1):35-43. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2009.09.004.

Systemic and airway inflammation in sleep apnea and obesity: the role of ICAM-1 and IL-8.

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Institute of Respiratory Disease, Department of Medical and Occupational Sciences, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.


The recurrent hypoxic stress that characterizes obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) seems to play a role in the increased adherence of neutrophils to endothelial cells as well as in the resulting migration of the former to the inflamed area. Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and interleukin (IL)-8 are markers widely used in OSA studies to investigate inflammation. The aim of this study was to measure ICAM-1 and IL-8 levels in the breath condensate and in the plasma and inflammatory cells in the induced sputum of 12 obese OSA (OO) patients, 10 nonobese OSA (NOO) patients, 10 obese non-OSA (ONO) subjects, and 8 healthy subjects (HS) using a specific enzyme immunoassay (EIA) kit. A significant increase in both plasma and exhaled IL-8 and ICAM concentrations and percentage neutrophils was observed in the induced sputum of obese OSA patients, non-obese OSA patients, and obese non-OSA subjects compared with healthy subjects. However, although these inflammatory markers were found to follow an upward trend in obese OSA patients no difference was observed in both either non-obese OSA patients and obese non-OSA subjects. Finally, a significant positive correlation was found to occur among IL-8, ICAM-1, and sputum neutrophils, as well as across the apnea-hypopnoea index (AHI), TST 90%, body mass index (BMI), and neck circumference. The data obtained confirm the occurrence of an ICAM- and IL-8-mediated neutrophilic airway inflammation in both OSA and obese patients. The degree of inflammation, which seems to worsen in cases of comorbidity (OSA and obesity), is likely to be responsible for the increased risk of developing cardiovascular events observed in these subjects, and therefore, it deserves to be elucidated even more.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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