A groundbreaking study recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine sheds light on innovative ways to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its related health issues.
Led by Dr. David Gozal and a team from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, the research explores new therapeutic strategies that could significantly improve the understanding and management of OSA-induced health problems.
Obstructive sleep apnea affects nearly one billion people globally. While current treatments like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) have limited success, this study delves into additional therapies, particularly using senolytics, to ease the challenges of OSA.
The study investigated whether targeting senescence, a treatment for aging cells, combined with a simulated approach mimicking good adherence to CPAP, could enhance outcomes in mice exposed to chronic intermittent hypoxia (IH), an important feature of OSA. The study revealed that the amalgamation of partial normoxic recovery with the senolytic Navitoclax (NAV) resulted in a substantial reduction in sleepiness during the rodents’ regular sleep period, accompanied by enhanced cognitive function. Interestingly, these favourable outcomes were absent when solely relying on CPAP treatment.
Dr. Gozal stressed the significance of the research, stating that the findings suggest addressing accelerated senescence holds promise for improving treatment outcomes in individuals with OSA, going beyond just normalizing oxygenation patterns.
Dr. Mohammad Badran, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, emphasized the inadequacy of conventional treatments such as CPAP in averting multiple organ dysfunctions caused by OSA. He further mentioned that in this scenario, adjuvant therapies like senolytics have the potential to become valuable and effective treatments addressing OSA-induced morbidities.
The treatment not only enhanced sleep-related results but also had positive effects on coronary artery function, glucose and lipid metabolism. Additionally, it decreased intestinal permeability. The combination of adherent CPAP treatment and NAV effectively lowered senescence in various organs, suggesting a possible reversal of cellular aging induced by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
This research may provide valuable insights into the harmful processes linked to OSA-associated health problems and pave the way for new approaches to reverse OSA’s impact on health.