The lncRNA MRPL20-AS1 is associated with severe OSAS and downregulated upon hypoxic injury of endothelial cells


      • MRPL20-AS1 is the most significantly regulated long non-coding RNA in the blood of patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
      • MRPL20-AS1 blood levels are inversely correlated with the apnea-hypopnea index.
      • MRLP20-AS1 is downregulated in endothelial cells upon hypoxic injury.



      Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is the most common sleep disorder in humans. Although OSAS is clearly related to arterial hypertension, coronary artery disease, and heart failure, it remains unknown through which pathomechanisms OSAS influences cardiovascular health. Recent research has pinpointed long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) as important molecular mediators of various cardiovascular pathologies. In this study, we have identified the lncRNA MRPL20-AS1 to be affected by OSAS in patients as well as by hypoxia in vitro.

      Methods and results

      A transcriptomic analysis was performed on peripheral blood from four patients with severe OSAS taken after one night of polygraphic assessment. We found that three lncRNAs were significantly dysregulated, of which MRPL20-AS1 was the most significant. In a larger cohort of 22 OSAS patients, MRPL20-AS1 was inversely correlated with the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). This indicates that OSAS patients with higher AHI levels and therefore more severe OSAS had lower levels of MRPL20-AS1 in the blood. The results were recapitulated in vitro by subjecting endothelial cells to hypoxia. In these experiments, hypoxia led to a significant downregulation of MRPL20-AS1 in endothelial cells.


      MRPL20-AS1 may serve as a useful tool to identify patients suffering from severe OSAS and further research should be done to evaluate the therapeutic potential of MRPL20-AS1 as a target to counteract the cardiovascular effects of OSAS.


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