In this issue of the newsletter, we will be highlighting the research being carried out by the Special Services Facility at DDI, led by Dr. Mohamed Abu-Farha.


Discover the latest research being carried out at DDI

Betatrophin: A Novel Biomarker For Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Dyslipidemia

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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a well-known public health problem, with high prevalence and numerous complications, such as excessive daytime sleepiness and lack of focus, which impact the daily activities of those affected. On the other hand, OSA is associated with many health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (Figure 3). Since obesity and diabetes are very common in Kuwait, it is becoming apparent that identifying and screening patients who are at risk for OSA is crucial and at the forefront of the fight against metabolic diseases.

The exact mechanism of OSA is not clear; however, biochemical processes that affect our cells such as inflammation and oxidative stress are known to play an important role in the development of OSA. Recent studies have shown that several pro-inflammatory mediators are elevated in the circulation of patients with OSA. One of the main features of OSA is the reduction in oxygen levels, a condition known as recurrent hypoxia. Hypoxia happens when cells in the body are overworked and can lead to the dysregulation of lipid (fat) metabolism, also known as dyslipidemia.

Current diagnostic methods for OSA, such as sleep studies, are often time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, identifying novel biomarkers is important for the diagnosis, prognosis, and to possibly replace current diagnostic methods. Betatrophin is an important regulator of lipid metabolism that has been implicated in the development of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and thus could be used as a potential novel biomarker for OSA. In a recent study conducted at DDI, led by Dr. Abdelmosen Al-Terki, Dr. Jehad Abu-Baker and Dr. Mohamed Abu-Farha, we compared the level of betatrophin in 52 individuals with OSA and 22 controls, to shed light on the impact of OSA on betatrophin levels. Our data showed that patients with OSA had higher levels of betatrophin compared with the controls, and that this increase was associated with higher levels of lipids in the plasma, which increases the risk for fatty liver and cardiovascular diseases. These results suggest that betatrophin may play a role in lipid dysregulation associated with OSA, and confirmed the potential for betatrophin as a novel biomarker for OSA diagnosis in patients in Kuwait. The results of this study were published in a high impact factor journal1 and have been filed for patenting.

1 Al-Terki A, Abu-Farha M, et al. Increased Level of Angiopoietin Like Proteins 4 and 8 in People with Sleep Apnea. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2018; 9:651.


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