Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is greatly elevated in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) during normoxic daytime wakefulness. Increased MSNA is a precursor to hypertension and elevated cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the mechanisms underlying the high MSNA in OSA are not well understood. In this study we used concurrent microneurography and magnetic resonance imaging to explore MSNA-related brainstem activity changes and anatomical changes in 15 control and 15 OSA subjects before and after 6 and 12 months of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. We found that following 6 and 12 months of CPAP treatment, resting MSNA levels were significantly reduced in individuals with OSA. Furthermore, this MSNA reduction was associated with restoration of MSNA-related brainstem activity and structural changes in the medullary raphe, rostral ventrolateral medulla, dorsolateral pons, and ventral midbrain. This restoration occurred after 6 months of CPAP treatment and was maintained following 12 months CPAP. These findings show that continual CPAP treatment is an effective long-term treatment for elevated MSNA likely due to its effects on restoring brainstem structure and function.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Frontiers in Neuroscience|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Mar 2016|
- Dorsolateral pons
- Medullary raphe
- Rostral ventrolateral medulla
- Sleep disordered breathing