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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015, Article ID 510105, 13 pages
Review Article

Inflammatory Response Mechanisms Exacerbating Hypoxemia in Coexistent Pulmonary Fibrosis and Sleep Apnea

Section of Pulmonary & Critical Care, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Received 2 February 2015; Accepted 17 March 2015

Academic Editor: Nina Ivanovska

Copyright © 2015 Ayodeji Adegunsoye and Jay Balachandran. 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.


Mediators of inflammation, oxidative stress, and chemoattractants drive the hypoxemic mechanisms that accompany pulmonary fibrosis. Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis commonly have obstructive sleep apnea, which potentiates the hypoxic stimuli for oxidative stress, culminating in systemic inflammation and generalized vascular endothelial damage. Comorbidities like pulmonary hypertension, obesity, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction contribute to chronic hypoxemia leading to the release of proinflammatory cytokines that may propagate clinical deterioration and alter the pulmonary fibrotic pathway. Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP-1), interleukin- (IL-) 1α, cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC-1, CINC-2α/β), lipopolysaccharide induced CXC chemokine (LIX), monokine induced by gamma interferon (MIG-1), macrophage inflammatory protein- (MIP-) 1α, MIP-3α, and nuclear factor- (NF-) κB appear to mediate disease progression. Adipocytes may induce hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) 1α production; GERD is associated with increased levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α); pulmonary artery myocytes often exhibit increased cytosolic free Ca2+. Protein kinase C (PKC) mediated upregulation of TNF-α and IL-1β also occurs in the pulmonary arteries. Increased understanding of the inflammatory mechanisms driving hypoxemia in pulmonary fibrosis and obstructive sleep apnea may potentiate the identification of appropriate therapeutic targets for developing effective therapies.