Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) has been shown to be associated to upper airway inflammation. The object of the present study was to establish the presence of bronchial inflammation in OSAS subjects. In 16 subjects affected by OSAS, and in 14 healthy volunteers, airway inflammation was detected by the cellular analysis of the induced sputum. OSAS patients, as compared to control subjects, showed a higher percentage of neutrophils (66.7+/-18.9 vs. 25.8+/-15.6) (P<0.001) and a lower percentage of macrophages (29.4+/-18.4 vs. 70.8+/-15.3) (P<0.001). The percentage of eosinophils and lymphocytes were not significantly different in the two groups. OSAS subjects show bronchial inflammation characterized by a significant increase in neutrophils.