Plasma apelin levels in obstructive sleep apnea and the effect of continuous positive airway pressure therapy

David E Henley, Fiona Buchanan, Rosemary Gibson, Jennie A Douthwaite, Susan A Wood, Wolfram W Woltersdorf, James R Catterall, Stafford L Lightman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Apelin is a peptide hormone with cardiovascular and glucose homeostasis properties, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is complicated by cardiovascular and metabolic comorbidities. Plasma apelin has not been previously assessed in OSA. We investigated the response of plasma apelin to a 2-h 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and the effect of 3 months compliant continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy in 15 obese males with newly diagnosed OSA. Plasma apelin and serum cortisol were recorded 10 minutely, while serum insulin and glucose were measured 30 minutely. Ten subjects had plasma apelin measured at intervals across a 24-h period to investigate for circadian variation in apelin levels, and this was repeated following 3 months compliant CPAP therapy. Fasting (0.342+/-0.038 vs 0.288+/-0.024 ng/ml, P=0.04), 30 min (0.399+/-0.035 vs 0.312+/-0.036 ng/ml, P=0.007) and 120 min (0.402+/-0.030 vs 0.259+/-0.024 ng/ml, P<0.001) apelin levels were reduced following CPAP. The area under curve for apelin OGTT response was lower post-CPAP (44.1+/-3.3 vs 35.8+/-2.3 ng/ml per min, P<0.001). Mean OGTT apelin levels showed a significant treatment effect (P=0.006) and a time effect (P<0.001), and the effect of time was different pre- versus post-CPAP (P=0.005). No significant variability in apelin levels existed across the 24-h period at diagnosis. Lower levels were evident overnight following treatment (P=0.004). Improvements in insulin and glucose parameters and reduced cortisol levels were found post-CPAP. In summary, untreated OSA was associated with elevated plasma apelin levels, altered apelin secretory dynamics in response to oral glucose and lack of an apparent circadian variability, which was restored following CPAP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apelin
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity/blood
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive/blood


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