Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is considered to impair memory processing and increase the expression of amyloid-β (Aβ) and risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Given the evidence that slow-wave sleep (SWS) is important in both memory and Aβ metabolism, a better understanding of the mechanisms by which OSA impacts memory and risk for AD can stem from evaluating the role of disruption of SWS specifically and, when such disruption occurs through OSA, from evaluating the individual contributions of sleep fragmentation (SF) and intermittent hypoxemia (IH). In this study, we used continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) withdrawal to recapitulate SWS-specific OSA during polysomnography (PSG), creating conditions of both SF and IH in SWS only. During separate PSGs, we created the conditions of SWS fragmentation but used oxygen to attenuate IH. We studied 24 patients (average age of 55 years, 29% female) with moderate-to-severe OSA [Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI); AHI4% > 20/h], who were treated and adherent to CPAP. Participants spent three separate nights in the laboratory under three conditions as follows: (1) consolidated sleep with CPAP held at therapeutic pressure (CPAP); (2) CPAP withdrawn exclusively in SWS (OSASWS) breathing room air; and (3) CPAP withdrawn exclusively in SWS with the addition of oxygen during pressure withdrawal (OSASWS + O2). Multiple measures of SF (e.g., arousal index) and IH (e.g., hypoxic burden), during SWS, were compared according to condition. Arousal index in SWS during CPAP withdrawal was significantly greater compared to CPAP but not significantly different with and without oxygen (CPAP = 1.1/h, OSASWS + O2 = 10.7/h, OSASWS = 10.6/h). However, hypoxic burden during SWS was significantly reduced with oxygen compared to without oxygen [OSASWS + O2 = 23 (%min)/h, OSASWS = 37 (%min)/h]. No significant OSA was observed in non-rapid eye movement (REM) stage 1 (NREM 1), non-REM stage 2 (NREM 2), or REM sleep (e.g., non-SWS) in any condition. The SWS-specific CPAP withdrawal induces OSA with SF and IH. The addition of oxygen during CPAP withdrawal results in SF with significantly less severe hypoxemia during the induced respiratory events in SWS. This model of SWS-specific CPAP withdrawal disrupts SWS with a physiologically relevant stimulus and facilitates the differentiation of SF and IH in OSA.
|Journal||Frontiers in Physiology|
|State||Published - 22 Nov 2021|
- hypoxic burden
- obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- sleep disordered breathing
- sleep disruption