Effects of obstructive sleep apnea treatment on neurodegenerative biomarker neurofilament light chain and cognitive performance

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with cognitive impairment and increased risk for neurodegenerative diseases. Obstructive sleep apnea treatment with positive airway pressure therapy helps to improve cognitive symptoms and reduces long-term dementia risk. To test whether these treatment effects are due to a reduction in neuronal damage, we examined longitudinal changes in the neurodegenerative serum neurofilament light chain and cognitive performance of patients with obstructive sleep apnea. In this study, 17 patients with obstructive sleep apnea completed baseline and follow-up (9 month after starting PAP treatment) investigation of sleep, daytime symptoms, cognitive testing and serum neurofilament light chain measurements. Depending on treatment adherence and efficacy, participants were assigned either to the effective treatment (n = 10) or non-effective treatment group (n = 7). As results at baseline lower mean oxygen saturation during sleep was associated with higher serum neurofilament light chain. Patients in the non-effective treatment group showed a significant increase of age-adjusted percentile of serum neurofilament light chain levels at follow-up, whereas serum neurofilament light chain values remained constant in the effective treatment group. At a functional level, effective treatment leads to an improvement in processing speed, which was not the case in the non-effective treatment group. Longitudinal changes of age-adjusted serum neurofilament light chain levels were associated with changes in cognitive performance. To conclude, this longitudinal observational study showed that effective obstructive sleep apnea treatment positively affects the amount of neuronal damage as well as working memory performance. As cognitive symptoms might not only be attributed to obstructive sleep apnea-related sleep deficiency, but also neurodegeneration, our results underline the importance of treatment adherence and efficacy for the prevention of neuronal damage and cognitive consequences.


FachzeitschriftJournal of sleep research
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung - 13 Feb. 2024

Externe IDs

Scopus 85185494701