Association Between Serum Lipid Profile and Obstructive Respiratory Events During REM and Non-REM Sleep

A. Bikov, Z. Lazar, P. Horvath, D.L. Tarnoki, A.D. Tarnoki, L. Fesus, M. Horvath, M. Meszaros, G. Losonczy, L. Kunos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) represents a risk for dyslipidaemia. Obstructive respiratory events during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep are more strongly related to the development of hypertension and diabetes than in non-REM. However, the relationship between sleep phases and serum lipid profile is unclear. We aimed to analyse the relationship between obstructive respiratory events in REM and non-REM sleep as well as serum lipid profile. Methods: Polysomnography was performed in 94 adult subjects who did not take any lipid-modifying medications. Fasting venous blood sample was taken the following morning for total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, lipoprotein(a), apoprotein A1 (ApoA1) and for apoprotein B (ApoB) measurements. Lipid profiles were correlated with apnoea–hypopnoea index (AHI) during REM (AHI REM) and non-REM (AHI NREM) stages in all subjects. In addition, lipid profiles were compared between REM-dependent OSA patients (AHI REM ≥ 5/h, but AHI NREM < 5/h) and control subjects (both AHI REM and AHI NREM < 5/h). Results: AHI REM correlated only with triglyceride concentrations (p = 0.04, Spearman’s rho, ρ = 0.21). In contrast, there was a significant association between AHI NREM and triglyceride (p = 0.02, ρ = 0.23), ApoB (p = 0.03, ρ = 0.21), HDL-C (p < 0.01, ρ = − 0.32) as well as ApoA1 levels (p = 0.04, ρ = − 0.21). However, these correlations were not present after adjustment for BMI (all p > 0.05). There was no difference in the lipid profile of REM-dependent OSA subjects and healthy controls (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Altered serum lipid profile is equally associated with a disturbed REM and non-REM sleep in OSA. Obesity must be considered as a strong covariate when interpreting lipid data in sleep apnoea.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date2 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Apolipoproteins
  • Dyslipidaemia
  • Lipids
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • REM sleep


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