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Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014;2014:985258. doi: 10.1155/2014/985258. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

Cardiovascular complications of sleep apnea: role of oxidative stress.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3.
Divisions of Critical Care and Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, Sleep Disorders Program, UBC Hospital, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Providence Health Care, University of British Columbia, Canada V6Z 1Y6.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs in 2% of middle-aged women and 4% of middle-aged men with a higher prevalence among obese subjects. This condition is considered as an independent risk factor for cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases. One of the major pathophysiological characteristics of OSA is intermittent hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to oxidative stress and overproduction of reactive oxygen species, which can lead to endothelial dysfunction, a hallmark of atherosclerosis. Many animal models, such as the rodent model of intermittent hypoxia, mimic obstructive sleep apnea in human patients and allow more in-depth investigation of biological and cellular mechanisms of this condition. This review discusses the role of oxidative stress in cardiovascular disease resulting from OSA in humans and animal models.

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