Infertility and obstructive sleep apnea: the effect of continuous positive airway pressure therapy on serum prolactin levels

Sleep Breath. 2010 Sep;14(3):253-7. doi: 10.1007/s11325-010-0373-0. Epub 2010 Jun 20.


Background: Obstructive sleep apnea disease (OSA) is associated with a myriad of endocrine adverse effects. Changes in the serum prolactin (PRL) secretion in OSA are thought to be related to the hypoxic stress and subsequently to result in reversible changes with effective continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Due to current disagreements on this topic, we investigated the effect of CPAP therapy on the serum PRL in patients with OSA, using the most accurate CPAP compliance assessment to date

Methods: Fourteen adults were recruited from those scheduled at the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center for a diagnostic polysomnogram (PSG). Fasting serum PRL, estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone (Test), glucose, cortisol (Cor), and leptin levels were measured at 7 a.m., the morning after PSG, and again in ten of these patients, after 11-39 months of CPAP therapy. Compliance data, for both short-term (mean, 34 days) and long-term follow-up (mean, 304 days), were downloaded.

Results: Except PRL, no other hormone's serum level, including that of FSH, LH, Test, Cor, and Leptin, has changed significantly after the CPAP therapy.

Conclusions: CPAP therapy is associated with a significant decrease in serum PRL levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Infertility, Male / blood*
  • Infertility, Male / therapy*
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prolactin / blood*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / blood*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Leptin
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone