Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 1185–1192 | Cite as

Effect of CPAP therapy on C-reactive protein and cognitive impairment in patients with obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome

  • Shu Qing Wu
  • Qing Chi Liao
  • Xing Xiang Xu
  • Li Sun
  • Jing Wang
  • Rui Chen
Sleep Breathing Physiology and Disorders • Original Article



Obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) is associated with neurocognitive impairment. We examined the role of the systemic inflammatory response, measured by high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) assay, and the effect of CPAP treatment on hsCRP and cognitive impairment in patients with OSAHS.


Eligible subjects (n = 178) were categorized into two groups: absent or mild OSAHS, and moderate to severe OSAHS. First, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and serum hsCRP concentration were measured. Then, the moderate to severe OSAHS group was further divided into a conservative treatment subgroup (n = 68) and a CPAP subgroup (n = 68). After 6 months of treatment, MoCA scores and hsCRP concentrations were re-measured in the moderate to severe group.


Compared with the absent or mild OSAHS group, hsCRP concentration was higher (1.00 ± 1.28 mg/L versus 2.71 ± 1.8, p < 0.001) and MoCA scores were significantly lower (27.4 ± 1.4 versus 26.3 ± 2.0, p < 0.001) in the moderate to severe group. After adjustment for age, education, body mass index, and neck circumference, hsCRP and MoCA scores correlated with parameters of overnight hypoxia. hsCRP and the proportion of time spent with blood oxygen saturation < 90 % (T90) predicted MoCA score. hsCRP and MoCA score improved, and the subdomains of the MoCA were partially improved, in the CPAP treatment subgroup. In conservatively managed patients, hsCRP concentration increased, and there was no improvement in neurocognitive dysfunction, with the memory subdomain significantly worse.


hsCRP may play a role in neurocognitive dysfunction in OSAHS. Long-term CPAP treatment could normalize the serum hsCRP concentration and partially reverse cognitive dysfunction in OSAHS.


Obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome Systemic inflammation Cognitive impairment Continuous positive airway pressure Polysomnography 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 81270147, 81302016 and 8117070), the Ministry of Health Research Fund Project of China (grant 2012w4) and the Fund of Northern Jiangsu People’s Hospital (yzucms201504).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the ethics committees of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University and Northern Jiangsu People’s Hospital, and was conducted in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

All patients provided written informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shu Qing Wu
    • 1
  • Qing Chi Liao
    • 2
  • Xing Xiang Xu
    • 1
  • Li Sun
    • 3
  • Jing Wang
    • 3
  • Rui Chen
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Respiratory Medicine, Northern Jiangsu People’s Hospital, Clinical Medical SchoolYangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  2. 2.Hypertension Department, Northern Jiangsu People’s Hospital, Clinical Medical SchoolYangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  3. 3.Sleeping CenterSecond Affiliated Hospital of Soochow UniversitySuzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Respiratory MedicineSecond Affiliated Hospital of Soochow UniversitySuzhouChina

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