The nocturnal secretion profile of the newly identified natriuretic peptide (NP), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), was studied in 14 patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) (apnoea hypopnoea index: 60.5±3.4, mean±SE) during two separate nights before and during nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) therapy. Plasma levels of NPs (atrial natriuretic peptides; ANP and BNP) were measured at 2-h intervals during sleep. Simultaneously, blood pressure was measured by a non-invasive method (Finapres®, Ohmeda, Englewood, CO, USA) and urine was collected for determing volume and catecholamine levels. Urinary and serum sodium concentration were determined before and after the study. Eight non-snoring subjects were also studied for the investigation of normal nocturnal profiles of BNP levels. To understand the discrete secretion profiles of the two NPs during sleep, blood was sampled from an additional seven patients every 5 min over a 30-min period around 00.00 and 04.00 hours before NCPAP. In patients with OSAS, plasma BNP levels increased from the beginning of sleep (22:00 h) to the morning (06:00 h) before NCPAP therapy (P< 0.01, ANOVA). Baseline BNP levels were not significantly correlated with patient's clinical and polysomnographic parameters. However, in the latter half of the sleep period (02:00-06: 00 h), increases in BNP levels during the night before NCPAP therapy were significantly correlated with blood pressure elevations (systolic: r=0.784 p< 0.01, diastolic: r= 0.587 P< 0.01) and with apnoea duration (r=0.582 P< 0.01). In normal subjects BP and BNP levels were not changed significantly during sleep. Plasma BNP levels were well correlated with concomitant ANP levels (P< 0.001). NCPAP therapy reduced ANP and BNP levels during sleep and in the morning (P< 0.01). Plasma levels of BNP at 5 min intervals before NCPAP therapy revealed few variations. On the other hand, ANP levels fluctuated over the 30-min period. Changes in BNP levels during sleep in the patients with OSAS may be related to blood pressure variations, but may be too small to play a significant physiological role in regulating diuresis in OSAS. Further work is required to determine the precise role of dual natriuretic system in cardiovascular load and natriuresis in OSAS.
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