Altered Blood Cytokines, CD4 T Cells, NK and Neutrophils in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Elias A. Said*, Mohammed A. Al-Abri, Iman Al-Saidi, Mohammed S. Al-Balushi, Jumaa Z. Al-Busaidi, Iman Al-Reesi, Crystal Y. Koh, Sidgi S. Hasson, Mohamed A. Idris, Ali A. Al-Jabri, Omar Habbal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background There are contradictory reports on the effects of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on the immune system. In order to clarify the effect of OSA on the different components of the immune system, we studied the association of OSA with changes in cytokine and chemokine levels, proliferative patterns of CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes as well as NK cells ex vivo and neutrophil functions. Methods We investigated the association of OSA with potential alterations in 14 Th1/Th2 and inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, CD4 and CD8 T cells, NK cells, and the NADPH oxidase activation and phagocytic functions in neutrophils. Results Our results suggest that the increase in CD4 T cell frequency in OSA is associated with an increased expression of the nuclear protein Ki67 (p < 0.05; power > 0.8), and is correlated with the levels of IL-1β (p < 0.05; power > 0.8). The levels of IL-1β as well as IL-6 showed a potential increase, while the levels of IFN-γ (p < 0.05; power > 0.8) and the ratio IFN-γ/IL-4 in the blood were possibly decreased in OSA. Additionally, we observed a potential increase in the expression of Ki67 in CD8hi and CD8lo NK cells (p < 0.05; power > 0.8). Our results also suggest that neutrophils have a decreased capacity to phagocytose bacteria and activate NADPH oxidase in OSA patients (p < 0.05; power > 0.8). Conclusion OSA may be associated with inflammatory and pro-Th2 immune responses, an increased proliferative potential of NK and CD4 T cells and a decreased capacity of neutrophils to phagocytose bacteria and produce ROS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-278
Number of pages7
JournalImmunology Letters
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • NK cells
  • Neutrophils
  • Sleep apnea
  • Th1/Th2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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