Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2010 Dec;17(2):69-74.

The Role of Endothelin-1 in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Pulmonary Hypertension

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonology, Busan St. Mary's Medical Center, Busan, Korea.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is associated with significant cardiovascular morbidity and increased mortality. However, it was controversial whether obstructive sleep apnea syndrome could cause pulmonary hypertension. The controversy was resolved by several studies that have shown pulmonary hypertension in 20% to 40% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome without underlying other cardiopulmonary diseases and reductions in pulmonary arterial pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome after treatment with nocturnal continuous positive airway pressure. Recent studies provide strong evidence for endothelial dysfunction in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and pulmonary hypertension. Endothelin-1 is a 21 amino acid peptide with diverse biologic activity such as highly potent vasoconstrictor and mitogen regulator that may play a key role in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and pulmonary hypertension. Continuous positive airway pressure therapy is moderately effective in reducing pulmonary arterial pressure. Further researches are needed to assess the therapeutic efficacy of pharmacologic therapy with agents that inhibit the action of endothelin-1 in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients with pulmonary hypertension.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; Pulmonary hypertension; Endothelial dysfunction; Endothelin-1

MeSH Terms

Arterial Pressure
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
Hypertension, Pulmonary
Sleep Apnea, Obstructive
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