Background: Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) has been shown to be associated to upper and lower airways inflammation. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the elective treatment of OSAS. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of CPAP-therapy on airway and nasal inflammation.
Methods: In 13 non-smoking subjects affected by untreated OSAS and in 11 non-smoking normal volunteers, airway inflammation was detected by analyses of the induced sputum. In the OSAS group measurements were repeated after 1, 10 and 60 days of the appropriate CPAP treatment. In addition, in 12 subjects of the OSAS group, nasal inflammation was detected by the analysis of induced nasal secretions at baseline, and after 1, 10 and 60 days of CPAP treatment.
Results: OSAS patients, compared to normal controls, showed at baseline a higher percentage of neutrophils and a lower percentage of macrophages in the induced sputum. One, 10 and 60 days of appropriate CPAP-therapy did not change the cellular profile of the induced sputum. In addition, in the OSAS patients, the high neutrophilic nasal inflammation present under baseline conditions was not significantly modified by CPAP-therapy. Finally, no patients developed airway hyper-responsiveness after CPAP therapy.
Conclusions: In OSAS subjects, the appropriate CPAP-therapy, while correcting the oxygen desaturation, does not modify the bronchial and nasal inflammatory profile.