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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Increased plasma YKL-40/chitinase-3-like-protein-1 is associated with endothelial dysfunction in obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Author(s): Jafari, Behrouz
  • Elias, Jack A
  • Mohsenin, Vahid
  • et al.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder affecting 15-24% of the adults and is associated with increased risk of hypertension and atherosclerosis. The exact mechanisms underlying hypertension in OSA are not entirely clear. YKL-40/Chitinase-3-like protein-1 is a circulating moiety with roles in injury, repair and angiogenesis that is dysregulated in atherosclerosis and a number of other diseases. We sought to determine the role of YKL-40 in endothelial dysfunction and hypertension in OSA.We studies 23 normotensive OSA (N-OSA) and 14 hypertensive OSA (H-OSA) without diabetes and apparent cardiovascular disease. Endothelial-dependent nitric oxide-mediated vasodilatory capacity was assessed by flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD). YKL-40, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the soluble form of VEGF receptor-1 or sFlt-1 were measured in plasma using ELISA methodology.N-OSA subjects aged 49.1 ± 2.3 years and H-OSA aged 51.3 ± 1.9 years with BMI 36.1 ± 1.6 and 37.6 ± 1.9 kg/m(2), respectively. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was 41 ± 5 events/hr in N-OSA and 46 ± 6 in H-OSA with comparable degree of oxygen desaturations during sleep. FMD was markedly impaired in H-OSA (8.3% ± 0.8) compared to N-OSA (13.2% ± 0.6, P<0.0001). Plasma YKL-40 was significantly elevated in H-OSA (55.2 ± 7.9 ng/ml vs. 35.6 ± 4.2 ng/ml in N-OSA, P = 0.02) and had an inverse relationship with FMD (r = -0.52, P = 0.013). There was a significant positive correlation between sFlt-1/VEGF, a measure of decreased VEGF availability, and YKL-40 (r = 0.42, P = 0.04).The levels of plasma YKL-40 were elevated in H-OSA group and inversely correlated with the endothelial-dependent vasodilatory capacity whereas there was a positive correlation between sFlt-1/VEGF and YKL-40. These findings suggest that YKL-40 is dysregulated, in part, due to perturbation of VEGF signaling, and may contribute to endothelial dysfunction and hypertension in OSA.

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