Systemic inflammation in non-obese children with obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep Med. 2008 Mar;9(3):254-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2007.04.013. Epub 2007 Sep 6.


Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been associated with increased systemic inflammatory responses that may contribute to an increased risk for end-organ morbidity. The changes in levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 , and the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, both of which play a major role in atherogenesis, a major consequence of OSA, have not specifically been assessed in pediatric patients.

Methods: Consecutive non-obese children (aged 4-9years) who were polysomnographically diagnosed with OSA, and age-, gender-, ethnicity-, and BMI-matched control children underwent a blood draw the next morning after a sleep study and plasma samples were assayed for interleukins 6 (IL-6) and 10 (IL-10). These tests were repeated 4-6months after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A) in children with OSA.

Results: IL-6 levels were higher and IL-10 plasma levels were lower in children with OSA and returned to control levels after T&A.

Conclusions: Systemic inflammation is a constitutive component and consequence of OSA in many children, even in the absence of obesity, and is reversible upon treatment in most patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnosis
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood*
  • Interleukin-10 / blood*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / immunology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery
  • Tonsillectomy


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-10