Gut epithelial barrier markers in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Barceló A, Esquinas C, Robles J, Piérola J, De la Peña M, Aguilar I, Morell-Garcia D, Alonso A, Toledo N, Sánchez-de la Torre M, Barbé F. Sleep Med. 2016 Oct;26:12-15.

BACKGROUND: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is now being recognized as an additional contributing factor to the pathogenesis of obesity-related comorbidities. At the same time, there is now increasing evidence to suggest that intestinal wall permeability plays a role in the development of metabolic syndrome. In the present study, circulating zonulin and fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) were measured in association with metabolic, hepatic, and inflammatory parameters. RESULTS: Compared with controls, plasma I-FABP levels were significantly higher in patients with OSA (571 pg/mL [IQR 290-950] vs 396 pg/mL [IQR 234-559], p = 0.04). Zonulin levels were similar between groups. Significant relationships were observed between zonulin levels and waist circumference (p < 0.05), glucose (p < 0.05), and insulin (p < 0.05). In addition, in the OSA group, zonulin levels correlated negatively with the mean nocturnal oxygenation saturation (p < 0.05) and positively with total cholesterol (p < 0.05), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (p < 0.005), aminotransferase (AST) (p < 0.01), gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) (p < 0.005), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) (p < 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that associations between zonulin and ALT, AST, and hs-CRP were attenuated, but not eliminated, after adjustment for other variables. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that OSA is a risk factor for intestinal damage, regardless of metabolic profile, and that intestinal permeability might be a possible contributor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in patients with OSA.

Gut epithelial barrier markers in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.