Inflammatory pathways in children with insufficient or disordered sleep

Jinkwan Kim, Fahed Hakim, Leila Kheirandish-Gozal, David Gozal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Sleep is not only an essential physiological function, but also serves important roles in promoting growth, maturation, and overall health of children and adolescents. There is increasing interest regarding the impact of sleep and its disorders on the regulation of inflammatory processes and end-organ morbidities, particularly in the context of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and their complications. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is an increasingly common health problem in children, and in the last decade, the emergence of increasing obesity rates has further led to remarkable increases in the prevalence of OSAS, along with more prominent neurocognitive, behavioral, cardiovascular and metabolic morbidities. Although the underlying mechanisms leading to OSAS-induced morbidities are likely multi-factorial, and remain to be fully elucidated, activation of inflammatory pathways by OSAS has emerged as an important pathophysiological component of the end-organ injury associated with this disorder. To this effect, it would appear that OSAS could be viewed as a chronic, low-grade inflammatory disorder. Furthermore, the concurrent presence of obesity and OSAS poses a theoretically increased risk of OSAS-related complications. In this review, we will critically review the current state of research regarding the impact of insufficient and disrupted sleep and OSAS on the immune processes and inflammatory pathways that underlie childhood OSAS as a distinctive systemic inflammatory condition in children, and will explore potential interactions between OSAS and obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-474
Number of pages10
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
LKG is supported by NIH grant K12 HL-090003; DG is supported by National Institutes of Health grants HL-065270 and HL-086662 ; FH is supported by American Physician Fellowship .


  • Inflammation
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Obesity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Pediatrics


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