Peripheral neuropathology of the upper airway in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Yi Ju Tsai, Kannan Ramar, Yao Jen Liang, Po Han Chiu, Nelson Powell, Chao Yun Chi, Tzu Chen Lung, Wesley Wen-Yang Lin, Po Jung Tseng, Ming Ying Wu, Kuan Chiao Chien, Edward M. Weaver, Fei Peng Lee, Chia Mo Lin, Kuang Chao Chen, Rayleigh Ping Ying Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a common sleep disorder that leads to significant morbidity and mortality without adequate treatment. Though much emphasis on the pathogenesis of OSAS has been placed on a narrow upper airway space and associated muscular factors, possible neuropathy of the upper airway has not been fully elucidated. Increasing peer reviewed evidence suggests involvement of neurologic lesions of the upper airway in OSAS patients.In this article, we review the etiology and pathophysiology of OSAS, the evidence and possible mechanisms leading to upper airway neuropathy, and the relationship between upper airway neuropathy and OSAS. Further studies should focus on the long term effects of the upper airway neuropathy as related to the duration and severity of snoring and or apnea, and also on the potential methods of prevention and management of the neuropathy in sleep disordered breathing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Hypoxia
  • Inflammation
  • Neuropathology
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
  • Upper airway surgery
  • Vibration trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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