Purpose of review: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a significant risk factor for systemic hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. While this relationship has been firmly established, a detailed understanding of how OSA leads to hypertension is lacking. This review will examine the emerging idea that the gut microbiota plays a role in the development of hypertension, including that associated with OSA.
Recent findings: Disruption of the normal composition of the gut microbiota, termed dysbiosis, has been identified in a number of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis. Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated gut dysbiosis in various animal models of hypertension as well as in hypertensive patients. Evidence is now emerging that gut dysbiosis plays a causal role in the development of OSA-induced hypertension. In this review, we will examine the evidence that gut dysbiosis plays a role in OSA-induced hypertension. We will discuss potential mechanisms linking OSA to gut dysbiosis, examine how gut dysbiosis may be linked to hypertension, and highlight how this understanding may be utilized for the development of future therapeutics.
Keywords: Dysbiosis; Hypertension; Microbiota; Obstructive sleep apnea.