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Sleep Breath. 2013 May;17(2):549-55. doi: 10.1007/s11325-012-0718-y. Epub 2012 May 18.

Oxidative stress in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

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Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Thessaly Biopolis, Larissa 41110, Greece.



We aimed to investigate whether systemic oxidative stress is increased in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).


A total of 18 patients with severe OSAS and 13 controls were included in the study. Inclusion criteria for OSAS patients were: snoring and apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of >30 in full polysomnography, no previous treatment for OSAS, non-smoking status, and a medical history of being free of comorbidities known to increase oxidative stress. Controls were recruited among subjects assessed for snoring in the Sleep Laboratory Department if they had AHI<5. At baseline, patients were evaluated by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and underwent spirometry, echocardiography, and full polysomnographic study. Blood samples were collected for evaluation of oxidative stress biomarkers [protein carbonyls, reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione, 8-isoprostane, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), catalase activity, Cu-Zn superoxide dysmutase (SOD), total antioxidant capacity (TAC)] before and on the morning following polysomnography.


The overnight (morning-night) change (%) of GSH/GSSG ratio and GSH was significantly different between OSAS and controls (p = 0.03 and p = 0.048, respectively). Plasma protein carbonyls, erythrocyte catalase activity, 8-isoprostane, SOD, TBARS, and TAC plasma values were not different between OSAS and controls (p > 0.05). No significant correlation was found between changes in the levels of biomarkers and AHI, arousal, or desaturation index.


The present prospective investigation in a population free of comorbidities or factors which may increase systemic oxidative stress provides evidence that obstructive sleep apnea per se might be associated with increased oxidative burden possibly via GSH/GSSG pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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