Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is associated with a dysfunction of vascular endothelial cells. The aim of this study was to investigate long-term improvement of endothelial dysfunction in OSAS with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) treatment. We investigated endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasodilatory function in patients with OSAS using the hand vein compliance technique. Dose-response curves to endothelium-dependent vasodilator bradykinin were obtained in 16 subjects with OSAS before and after 6 months of nCPAP therapy and in 12 control subjects without OSAS. Maximum dilation (Emax) to bradykinin, being impaired in all OSAS patients, was completely restored with nCPAP. Mean Emax to bradykinin rose from 54.9+/-18.5 to 108.2+/-28.7% with 164.4+/-90.0 nights of nCPAP therapy (p<0.0001; Emax healthy controls, 94.8+/-9.5%). At treatment follow-up, endothelium-dependent vasodilatory capacity was not significantly different in nCPAP-treated OSAS patients vs healthy controls. Mean vasodilation with endothelium independently acting nitroglycerin was not altered initially and did not change with nCPAP therapy indicating that nCPAP restored endothelial cell function and not unspecific, endothelium-independent factors. These results suggest that regular nocturnal nCPAP treatment leads to a sustained restoration of OSAS-induced impaired endothelium-dependent nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation, suggesting an improvement of systemic endothelial dysfunction in patients studied.
View details for PubMedID 16021522