According to a study by Greek researchers, the levels of cysteinyl leukotrienes excreted in urine are significantly linked to the severity of obstructive sleep-disordered breathing in children.
Their findings, the authors write, indicate that either 5-lipoxygenase pathway products participate in the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea in childhood or that sleep-disordered breathing promotes CysLTs biosynthesis.
Dr. Athanasios Kaditis of the University of Thessaly School of Medicine, Larissa, reported that measuring cysteinyl leukotrienes is currently important for research purposes. It is another piece of evidence that CysLTs play a significant role in the pathogenesis of sleep apnea in children, probably by contributing to enlargement of tonsils and adenoids.
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in childhood, Kaditis explained. In the near future, medications inhibiting the actions of CysLTs may be alternative treatment to adenotonsillectomy for sleep apnea.
The study included a total of 92 participants including 19 children with moderate-to-severe sleep-disordered breathing whose mean age was 5.4 years, 29 with mild sleep-disordered breathing whose mean age was mean age 5.1 years, 26 with primary snoring whose mean age was mean age 7 years, and 18 children in control group whose mean age was mean age 6.4 years.
The results showed that moderate-to-severe sleep-disordered breathing group had significantly higher (p < 0.01) levels of urine CysLTs than the other 3 groups.
The researchers analyzed that it is still unclear as to exactly which type(s) of cells have the potential to synthesize CysLTs in the pharyngeal airway.