The Relationship between Atherosclerosis and Gut Microbiome in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Helga Szabo, Marton Piroska, Anita Hernyes, Luca Zoldi, Janos Juhasz, Balazs Ligeti, Nora Makra, Dora Szabo, Andras Bikov, Laszlo Kunos, Adam Domonkos Tarnoki, David Laszlo Tarnoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and gut dysbiosis are known risk factors for atherosclerosis. However, only very few studies have been focused on the relationship between OSA, atherosclerosis, and the intestinal microbiome, all in animal models. Methods: Twenty-two patients with OSA, 16 with and 6 without carotid atherosclerosis were involved in the study. After a diagnostic sleep examination, the intima media thickness (IMT) was measured and plaques were found using carotid ultrasound. Blood was also drawn for metabolic profile, and a stool sample was provided for 16S ribosomal RNA microbiome investigation. Results: An increased maximal common carotid artery (CCA) IMT was significantly associated with decreased phylum-level diversity. The level of Peptostreptococcaceae was significantly lower in atherosclerotic subjects. Some other candidate microbes appeared in the two groups at the genus level as well: Bilophila, Romboutsia, Slackia, and Veillonella in the non-atherosclerotic group; and Escherichia-Shigella, Prevotella, and Ruminococcaceae in the atherosclerotic group. Conclusions: This is the first pilot research to analyze the association between the gut microbiome and atherosclerosis in adult patients with OSA with and without carotid atherosclerosis. Dysbiosis and individual bacteria may contribute to the development of carotid atherosclerosis in patients with OSA. Further investigations are necessary to reveal a more precise background in a larger sample.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11484
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022


  • alpha diversity
  • carotid atherosclerosis
  • gut microbiome
  • intima-media thickness
  • sleep apnoea
  • sleep disorder
  • ultrasound


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