Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) has been linked with abnormal glucose metabolism, insulin resistance (IR) and development of diabetes mellitus.


Non-diabetic patients (n=69) with OSAS, diagnosed by polysomnography, were prospectively recruited. To evaluate IR among OSAS patients, the Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) and Insulin sensitivity by Quantitative Insulin sensitivity Check Index (QUICKI) were used.


HOMA-IR was positively associated with body-mass index (BMI) (ρ=0.364, p=0.002), time with oxyhaemoglobin saturation <90% (ρ=0.291, p=0.015), arousal index (ρ=0.268, p=0.027), Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS) score (ρ=0.293, p=0.019) and negatively with average oxyhaemoglobin saturation (ρ=-0.398, p=0.001) and minimum oxyhaemoglobin saturation (ρ=-0.327, p=0.006). QUICKI was positively associated with forced vital capacity (r=0.301, p=0.014), average oxyhaemoglobin saturation (r=0.443, p<0.001), minimum oxyhaemoglobin saturation (ρ=0.318, p=0.008), and negatively associated with sleep stage transitions (r=-0.266, p=0.032), oxygen desaturation index (r=-0.404, p=0.005), time with oxyhaemoglobin saturation <90% (r=-0.311, p=0.019), arousal index (r=-0.344, p=0.004) and ESS score (r=-0.299, p=0.016). After adjustment for age and BMI, HOMA-IR was associated with sleep stage transitions, time with oxyhaemoglobin saturation <90%, average oxyhaemoglobin saturation, minimum oxyhaemoglobin saturation and arousal index. QUICKI was associated with oxygen desaturation index, sleep stage transitions, ESS score, minimum oxyhaemoglobin saturation and arousal index.


An independent association between OSAS and IR in patients without pre-existing diabetes mellitus was observed. Recurrent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation in OSAS are associated with IR in these patients.

Keywords: HOMA-IR, Intermittent hypoxia, Insulin resistance, Insulin sensitivity, Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, Sleep fragmentation, QUICKI.
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