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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 568951, 7 pages
Research Article

Abnormal Cytokine Profile in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome and Erectile Dysfunction

1Sleep Disorders Center, Department of Thoracic Medicine, University of Crete, 711 10 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
2Department of Urology, University of Crete, 711 10 Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Received 18 February 2014; Accepted 22 April 2014; Published 19 May 2014

Academic Editor: David Gozal

Copyright © 2014 Izolde Bouloukaki et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patients with obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) show a high prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED). Although the underlying pathogenesis is still unknown, endothelial dysfunction, induced by inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules, has been proposed as a possible mechanism. The aim of this study was to assess whether OSAHS is associated with activation of the inflammatory cytokine system in patients with ED compared to the matched OSAHS patients with normal sexual function. Thirty-one patients with severe OSAHS and ED were included. Fifteen patients with severe OSAHS and without ED served as controls. Serum concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-a), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), and adiponectin were measured after the diagnostic polysomnography. We found that hsCRP levels were significantly elevated in OSAHS patients with ED compared to controls. Similarly, TNF-a levels, IL-6, and IL-8 were elevated in OSAHS patients with ED compared to controls. Serum adiponectin levels were lower in OSAHS-ED patients, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. The presence of ED in patients with severe OSAHS is associated with elevated levels of inflammatory markers, underlining a possible involvement of endothelial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of ED.