Study Objectives: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We hypothesized that the hypoxia of OSA increases hepatic production of lysyl oxidase (LOX), an enzyme that cross-links collagen, and that LOX may serve as a biomarker of hepatic fibrosis. Design: Thirty-five patients with severe obesity underwent liver biopsy, polysomnography, and serum LOX testing. A separate group with severe OSA had serum LOX measured before and after 3 mo of CPAP or no therapy, as did age-matched controls. LOX expression and secretion were measured in mouse hepatocytes following exposure to hypoxia. Setting: The Johns Hopkins Bayview Sleep Disorders Center, and the Hypertension Unit of the Heart Institute at the University of São Paulo Medical School. Measurements and Results: In the bariatric cohort, the apnea-hypopnea index was higher in patients with hepatic fibrosis than in those without fibrosis (42.7 ± 30.2 events/h, versus 16.2 ± 15.5 events/h; P=0.002), as was serum LOX (84.64 ± 29.71 ng/mL, versus 45.46 ± 17.16 ng/mL; P < 0.001). In the sleep clinic sample, patients with severe OSA had higher baseline LOX than healthy controls (70.75 ng/mL versus 52.36 ng/mL, P=0.046), and serum LOX decreased in patients with OSA on CPAP (mean decrease 20.49 ng/mL) but not in untreated patients (mean decrease 0.19 ng/mL). Hypoxic mouse hepatocytes demonstrated 5.9-fold increased LOX transcription (P=0.046), and enhanced LOX protein secretion. Conclusions: The hypoxic stress of obstructive sleep apnea may increase circulating lysyl oxidase (LOX) levels. LOX may serve as a biomarker of liver fibrosis in patients with severe obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Sleep disordered breathing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Physiology (medical)