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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 569520, 12 pages
Review Article

Cardiac Response to Chronic Intermittent Hypoxia with a Transition from Adaptation to Maladaptation: The Role of Hydrogen Peroxide

1The Cardiovascular Center, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China
2Department of Pediatrics, Kosair Children Hospital Research Institute, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

Received 7 February 2012; Accepted 20 March 2012

Academic Editor: Ivan Spasojevic

Copyright © 2012 Xia Yin 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.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a highly prevalent respiratory disorder of sleep, and associated with chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH). Experimental evidence indicates that CIH is a unique physiological state with potentially “adaptive” and “maladaptive” consequences for cardio-respiratory homeostasis. CIH is also a critical element accounting for most of cardiovascular complications of OSA. Cardiac response to CIH is time-dependent, showing a transition from cardiac compensative (such as hypertrophy) to decompensating changes (such as failure). CIH-provoked mild and transient oxidative stress can induce adaptation, but severe and persistent oxidative stress may provoke maladaptation. Hydrogen peroxide as one of major reactive oxygen species plays an important role in the transition of adaptive to maladaptive response to OSA-associated CIH. This may account for the fact that although oxidative stress has been recognized as a driver of cardiac disease progression, clinical interventions with antioxidants have had little or no impact on heart disease and progression. Here we focus on the role of hydrogen peroxide in CIH and OSA, trying to outline the potential of antioxidative therapy in preventing CIH-induced cardiac damage.