International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Cholinergic Markers and Cytokines in OSA Patients
Volume: 21, Issue: 9
DOI 10.3390/ijms21093264

The role of inflammation and dysfunction of the cholinergic system in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has not exhaustively clarified. Thus, in this study, we explore the non-neuronal cholinergic system and the balance of T helper (Th) 17- and T regulatory (Treg)-related cytokines in OSA patients. The study includes 33 subjects with obstructive sleep apnea and 10 healthy controls (HC). The expression levels of cholinergic system component, RAR-related orphan receptor (RORc), transcription factor forkhead box protein 3 (Foxp3) and cytokines were evaluated. Th17- and Treg-related cytokines, choline levels and acetylcholinesterase (AChE), butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) activity were quantified in OSA and control subjects. AChE and nicotinic receptor α 7 subunit (α7nAChR) gene expression and serum levels of choline, AChE and BuChE were lower in OSA patients than in the HC group. Compared with the HC group, OSA patients exhibited an increased expression, secretion and serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, a reduced expression, secretion and serum levels of transforming growth factor (TGF)β and reduced Foxp3 mRNA levels. The Th17/Treg-related cytokine ratio was higher in the OSA group. Our results confirm and reinforce the hypothesis that OSA may be considered a systemic inflammatory disease, and that an imbalance of non-neuronal cholinergic and pro/anti-inflammatory cytokines may contribute to development and progression of comorbidities in OSA subjects. The evaluation of Th17/Treg-related cytokine may provide an additional explanation for OSA pathogenesis and clinical features, opening new directions for the OSA management.

Keywords Markers and Cytokines in OSA Patients&author=Marcella Reale,Lucia Velluto,Marta Di Nicola,Chiara D’Angelo,Erica Costantini,Michele Marchioni,Gianluigi Cerroni,Biancamaria Guarnieri,&keyword=cholinergic system,cytokines,inflammation,obstructive sleep apnea,polysomnography,sleepiness,&subject=Article,