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Inflammation Linked to Childhood Sleep Apnea

Last Updated: June 05, 2009.

The pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea in children may involve an inflammatory response in the upper airways that is reflected in increased leukotrienes in the urine, according to a study reported in the June issue of the journal Chest.

FRIDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- The pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea in children may involve an inflammatory response in the upper airways that is reflected in increased leukotrienes in the urine, according to a study reported in the June issue of the journal Chest.

Athanasios G. Kaditis, M.D., of the Larissa University Hospital in Greece, and colleagues investigated the role of inflammation in the upper airways and obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children. The investigators measured the urine concentrations of cysteinyl leukotrienes (CysLTs) in subgroups of children with SDB symptoms and compared them to a control group of 18 children (mean age, 6.4) with no snoring and recurrent tonsillitis who had had polysomnography. The SDB study subgroups included 19 children with moderate-to-severe SDB (mean age, 5.4), 29 with mild SDB (mean age, 5.1), and 26 with primary snoring (mean age, 7).

The researchers found that the group with moderate-to-severe SDB tested higher for urine CysLTs levels than the mild SDB group, the primary snoring group, or the control group. In the analysis, urine CysLTs concentration, tonsillar size, and body mass index z-score were found to be predictors of ranking on the obstructive apnea-hypopnea index.

"Urine excretion of CysLTs is related to SDB severity in children. This finding indicates that 5-lipoxygenase pathway products participate in the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea in childhood or alternatively that SDB promotes CysLTs biosynthesis," the authors conclude.

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