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Obstructive sleep apnea associated with inflammation, body dysfunction

Sleep apnea

Illustration of obstruction of ventilation. Credit: Habib M / her / Public Domain

Voyagers no longer hunt for the great youth source, but the search for longevity is still very alive for researchers.

"Aging has become the next border in medicine," said famous search specialist David Gozal, MD, president of the Department of Child Health at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Chronological age – the transition of time to spend on this planet – cannot be reversed, Gozal said. However, the biological age's health compared to one's peers – can be reversed. Healthy lifestyle habits contribute to "aging well", which means that a biological age is younger than its chronological age, Gozal says. And sleep is an important factor in how good an age is.

In the study, "Obstructive sleep apnea and inflammation: Evidence of concept based on two illustrative cytokines" was recently published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences, the researchers examined the connection between obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and inflammation and the consequent damage caused by organs. They concluded that OSAS promotes a sustained low-intensity inflammatory condition.

Gozal and Leila Kheirandish-Gozal, MD, director of the MU School of Medicine's Child Health Research Institute, make the case that sleep-disturbed breathing like OSAS should be considered a low-grade chronic inflammatory disease. This is because OSAS often leads to altered lung ventilation and low oxygen concentrations in the blood, which can trigger inflammation.

Inflammation is associated with changes in neurocognition, mood, behavior, cardiovascular function and metabolism as well as a variety of related conditions including chronic kidney disease, erectile dysfunction, eye disease and cancer.

In their study, Kheirandish-Gozal and Gozal conducted an intensive review of previous studies focusing on two specific pro-inflammatory cytokines or substances secreted by certain cells of the immune system. By comparing and contrasting the ways in which these cytokines affect cells, the researchers were able to experience a better understanding of the various inflammatory mechanisms. This could in turn lead to better and more precise treatments, Gozal said.

"We want to be very precise about how we treat sleep apnea," Gozal said.

Currently, the most common treatments for OSAS are surgical removal of tonsil and adenoid tissue for children and the use of adult CPAP machines. But more precise treatments can include vitamin C or plant-derived antioxidants to reverse the damage caused by the specific inflammatory processes and protect the body from future damage.

Gozal's hopeful future studies will help scientists better understand the biomarkers, pointing to a person's unique vulnerabilities to nuances of inflammation and, in turn, improved treatments to correct and prevent cellular damage.

These treatments, said Gozal, could help reverse the patients' biological ages, leading to longer and healthier lives.

Tonsillectomy for sleep apnea carries risks for some children: study

More information:
Leila Kheirandish-Gozal et al., Obstructive sleep apnea and inflammation: Evidence of concept based on two illustrative cytokines, International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2019). DOI: 10.3390 / ijms20030459

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University of Missouri-Columbia

Obstructive sleep apnea associated with inflammation, body dysfunction (2019, February 12)
February 12, 2019

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