A randomized controlled trial: branched-chain amino acid levels and glucose metabolism in patients with obesity and sleep apnea.

Barceló A, Morell-Garcia D, Salord N, Esquinas C, Pérez G, Pérez A, Monasterio C, Gasa M, Fortuna AM, Montserrat JM, Mayos M. J Sleep Res. 2017 May 17.


There is evidence that changes in branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) levels may correlate with the efficacy of therapeutic interventions for affecting improvement in metabolic control. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether serum concentrations of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, valine) could mediate in insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance after continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A prospective randomized controlled trial of OSA patients with morbid obesity was conducted. Eighty patients were randomized into two groups: 38 received conservative treatment and 42 received CPAP treatment for 12 weeks. Plasma levels of BCAA, glucose tolerance and insulin resistance were evaluated at baseline and after treatment. After treatment, significant decreases of leucine levels were observed in both groups when compared with baseline levels (P < 0.005). With respect to patients with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) had higher baseline levels of isoleucine (78 ± 16 versus 70 ± 13 μmol L-1 , P = 0.014) and valine (286 ± 36 versus 268 ± 41 μmol L-1 , P = 0.049), respectively. Changes in levels of leucine and isoleucine after treatment were related negatively to changes in fasting plasma glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin values only in the conservative group (P < 0.05). In summary, we found that the treatment with CPAP for 12 weeks caused similar changes in circulating BCAAs concentrations to conservative treatment and a differential metabolic response of CPAP and conservative treatment was observed between the relationship of BCAAs and glucose homeostasis. Additional studies are needed to determine the interplay between branched-chain amino acids and glucose metabolism in patients with sleep apnea.