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WIERNSPERGER, Nicolas; NIVOIT, Pierre  and  BOUSKELA, Eliete. Obstructive sleep apnea and insulin resistance: a role for microcirculation?. Clinics [online]. 2006, vol.61, n.3, pp.253-266. ISSN 1807-5932.

Obstructive sleep apnea is an increasingly recognized medical problem. The recent attention to its frequency in the general population and its important role in metabolic, vascular, and behavioral aspects have sharply increased the number and nature of investigations, thereby revealing new aspects that open new approaches in research. Whereas obstructive sleep apnea is a well-known phenomenon accompanying obesity and diabetes, new findings strongly suggest that this close relationship may also operate in the opposite direction. Indeed obstructive sleep apnea may be a primary feature inducing or aggravating a series of vascular and metabolic disturbances closely resembling the metabolic syndrome. This review will discuss established and potential mechanisms responsible for these changes. Obstructive sleep apnea indeed appears to gather all the elements necessary to induce insulin resistance, hypertension, and possibly heart failure. After careful analysis of these modifications and considering how they are intertwined, we propose that microcirculation could represent the common denominator mediating the progression of this pathology, as it is eventually the case in the metabolic syndrome and diabetes domain. This plausible hypothesis is discussed in detail and should be verified by appropriate preclinical and clinical protocols, which are now achievable by using noninvasive techniques in humans.

Keywords : Obstructive sleep apnea; Insulin resistance; Hypoxia; Metabolic syndrome; Microcirculation.

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