Frequency‑Specific Regional Homogeneity Alterations and Cognitive Function in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Before and After Short-Term Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Treatment

Nat Sci Sleep. 2021 Dec 24:13:2221-2238. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S344842. eCollection 2021.


Purpose: Previous studies have demonstrated abnormal local spontaneous brain activity in the conventional frequency bands (0.01-0.08 Hz) in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, it is not clear whether these abnormalities are associated with the specific frequency band of low-frequency oscillations or whether it can be improved with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. This study aimed to investigate the regional homogeneity (ReHo) in specific frequency at baseline (pre-CPAP) and after one month of CPAP adherence treatment (post-CPAP) in OSA patients.

Methods: Twenty-one patients with moderate-to-severe OSA and 21 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs) were included in the final analysis. ReHo was calculated in three different frequency bands (typical frequency band: 0.01-0.1 Hz; slow-5 band: 0.01-0.027 Hz; slow-4 band: 0.027-0.073 Hz), respectively. A partial correlational analysis was performed to assess the relationship between altered ReHo and clinical evaluation.

Results: OSA patients revealed increased ReHo in the brainstem, bilateral inferior temporal gyrus (ITG)/fusiform, and right-cerebellum posterior lobe (CPL), and decreased ReHo in the bilateral inferior parietal lobule (IPL), right superior temporal gyrus (STG), and left precentral gyrus (PG) compared to HC groups in different frequency bands. Significantly changed ReHo in the bilateral middle temporal gyrus (MTG), PG, medial frontal gyrus (MFG), supplementary motor area (SMA), CPL, IPL, left superior frontal gyrus (SFG), ITG, MTG, and right STG were observed between post-CPAP and pre-CPAP OSA patients, which was associated with specific frequency bands. The altered ReHo in specific frequency bands was correlated with Montreal cognitive assessment score, Epworth sleepiness scale, and apnea hypopnea index in pre-CPAP OSA patients.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that OSA has frequency-related abnormalities of spontaneous neural activity before and after short-term CPAP treatment, which might contribute to a better understanding of local neural psychopathology and may serve as potential biomarkers for clinical CPAP treatment.

Keywords: frequency band; local connectivity; obstructive sleep apnea; resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging; treatment.