Chronic intermittent hypoxia induces early-stage metabolic dysfunction independently of adipose tissue deregulation

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Several studies demonstrated a link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the development of insulin resistance. However, the main event triggering insulin resistance in OSA remains to be clarified. Herein, we investigated the effect of mild and severe chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) on whole-body metabolic deregulation and visceral adipose tissue dysfunction. Moreover, we studied the contribution of obesity to CIH-induced dysmetabolic states. Experiments were performed in male Wistar rats submitted to a control and high-fat (HF) diet. Two CIH protocols were tested: A mild CIH paradigm (5/6 hypoxic (5% O2) cycles/h, 10.5 h/day) during 35 days and a severe CIH paradigm (30 hypoxic (5% O2) cycles, 8 h/day) during 15 days. Fasting glycemia, insulinemia, insulin sensitivity, weight, and fat mass were assessed. Adipose tissue hypoxia, inflammation, angiogenesis, oxidative stress, and metabolism were investigated. Mild and severe CIH increased insulin levels and induced whole-body insulin resistance in control animals, effects not associated with weight gain. In control animals, CIH did not modify adipocytes perimeter as well as adipose tissue hypoxia, angiogenesis, inflammation or oxidative stress. In HF animals, severe CIH attenuated the increase in adipocytes perimeter, adipose tissue hypoxia, angiogenesis, and dysmetabolism. In conclusion, adipose tissue dysfunction is not the main trigger for initial dysmetabolism in CIH. CIH in an early stage might have a protective role against the deleterious effects of HF diet on adipose tissue metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1233
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Adipose tissue
  • Hypoxia
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic dysfunction
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Oxidative stress


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