Proteomic biomarkers of cognitive impairment in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Chitra Lal*, Gary Hardiman, Suchit Kumbhare, Charlie Strange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: There are currently no biomarkers that are associated with cognitive impairment (CI) in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). This pilot study performed an exploratory plasma proteomic analysis to discover potential biomarkers and explore proteomic pathways that differentiate OSAS subjects with and without CI. Methods: Participants were selected from a cohort of women within 5 years of menopause not on hormone replacement therapy between the ages of 45–60 years. The Berlin questionnaire was used to select OSAS participants who then completed the MCFSI (Mail-In Cognitive Function Screening Instrument) to measure cognition. Six subjects with the highest MCFSI scores (≥ 5 denoting CI) were compared to six with normal scores. Proteomic analysis was done by Myriad RBM using a targeted ELISA for 254 serum proteins. Pathway analysis of differentially expressed proteins was performed using STRING (Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes/Proteins) software. Results: Distinct proteomic signatures were seen in OSAS subjects with CI as compared to those without CI. Proteins including insulin, prostasin, angiopoietin-1, plasminogen activator inhibitor 1, and interleukin-1 beta were overexpressed in OSAS subjects with CI. Proteins underexpressed in CI participants included cathepsin B, ceruloplasmin, and adiponectin. Pathway analysis revealed prominence of insulin-regulated vascular disease biomarkers. Conclusions: Proteomic biomarkers in participants with cognitive impairment suggest roles for insulin, and vascular signaling pathways, some of which are similar to findings in Alzheimer’s disease. A better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms of CI in OSAS will help focus clinical trials needed in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-257
JournalSleep and Breathing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Menopause
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Clinical Neurology


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