Obstructive sleep apnea and dyslipidemia: Implications for atherosclerosis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: The aim of this Review is to summarize current evidence about the impact of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and intermittent hypoxia on dyslipidemia and provide future perspectives in this area. Recent Findings: Intermittent hypoxia, a hallmark of OSA, induces hyperlipidemia in lean mice. Hyperlipidemia of intermittent hypoxia occurs, at least in part, due to activation of the transcription factor sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 (SREBP-1) and an important downstream enzyme of triglyceride and phospholipid biosynthesis, stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1. Furthermore, intermittent hypoxia may regulate SREBP-1 and stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 via the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1. In contrast, key genes involved in cholesterol biosynthesis, SREBP-2 and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase, are unaffected by intermittent hypoxia. In humans, there is no definitive evidence regarding the effect of OSA on dyslipidemia. Several cross-sectional studies suggest that OSA is independently associated with increased levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides, whereas others report no such relationship. Some nonrandomized and randomized studies show that OSA treatment with continuous positive airway pressure may have a beneficial effect on lipid profile. Summary: There is increasing evidence that intermittent hypoxia is independently associated with dyslipidemia. However, the role of OSA in causality of dyslipidemia remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-165
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Intermittent hypoxia
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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