Intermittent hypoxia (IH) has been implicated in the cardiovascular consequences of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, the lack of suitable experimental systems has precluded assessment as to whether IH is detrimental, protective, or both for the endothelium. The aim of the work was to determine the effects of frequency and amplitude of IH oxygenation swings on aortic endothelial wound healing. Monolayers of human primary endothelial cells were wounded and subjected to constant oxygenation (1%, 4%, 13%, or 20% O2) or IH at different frequencies (0.6, 6, or 60 cycles/h) and magnitude ranges (13-4% O2 or 20-1% O2), using a novel well-controlled system, with wound healing being measured after 24 h. Cell monolayer repair was similar at 20% O2 and 13% O2, but was considerably increased (approximately twofold) in constant hypoxia at 4% O2 The magnitude and frequency of IH considerably modulated wound healing. Cycles ranging 13-4% O2 at the lowest frequency (0.6 cycles/h) accelerated endothelial wound healing by 102%. However, for IH exposures consisting of 20% to 1% O2 oscillations, wound closure was reduced compared with oscillation in the 13-4% range (by 74% and 44% at 6 cycles/h and 0.6 cycles/h, respectively). High-frequency IH patterns simulating severe OSA (60 cycles/h) did not significantly modify endothelial wound closure, regardless of the oxygenation cycle amplitude. In conclusion, the frequency and magnitude of hypoxia cycling in IH markedly alter wound healing responses and emerge as key factors determining how cells will respond in OSA.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Intermittent hypoxia (IH) induces cardiovascular consequences in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients. However, the vast array of frequencies and severities of IH previously employed in OSA-related experimental studies has led to controversial results on the effects of IH. By employing an optimized IH experimental system here, we provide evidence that the frequency and magnitude of IH markedly alter human aortic endothelial wound healing, emerging as key factors determining how cells respond in OSA.
Keywords: endothelium; hypoxia/reoxygenation; repair; sleep apnea.
Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.