Galectin-3 and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio are indicative of heart remodelling and disease severity in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea

Sebastiano Cicco, Giorgio Castellana, Lorenzo Marra, Valentina Di Lecce, Pierluigi Carratù, Marcella Prete, Giuseppe Ranieri, Onofrio Resta, Giovanna Elisiana Carpagnano, Vito Racanelli, Silvano Dragonieri, Angelo Vacca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Galectin-3, considered as a new inflammatory marker; it is increased in cardiovascular disease. We investigated Galectin-3 in relation to heart damage in patients with OSA and its role in inflammation, based on the Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR).

METHODS: Sixty-three consecutive patients (45 males, 18 females, 58.60 ± 12.28 years old) were studied. According to the Apnoea-Hypopnoea Index (AHI) patients were divided into Group 1 - non-severe (AHI <30) (17 males and 10 females, 59.89 ± 10.62 years old) and Group 2 - severe (AHI ≥30) (29 males and 6 females, aged 57.53 ± 13.30 years old) OSA. All patients underwent morning blood gas analysis, laboratory tests, nocturnal polygraphy, and echocardiography.

RESULTS: Galectin-3 was significantly increased in Group 2 (p = 0.027) patients. Moreover, it was directly related to left ventricle (LV) mass, left ventricle hypertrophy and LV posterior wall diameter. Tissue Doppler septal velocity (e'), that measures wall motion, was inversely correlated to Galectin-3. Furthermore, a direct association to diastolic dysfunction, evaluated as E/e' ratio, was observed. In line with these data, a direct correlation between Galectin-3 and left atrium volume was also found. Galectin-3 and percentage of total registration time with nocturnal oxygen saturation <90% (TST90) were directly correlated (p = 0.0003), while Galectin-3 and mean nocturnal SpO2 were negatively correlated (p = 0.0045). We found a direct correlation between Galectin-3 and NLR (p = 0.011). Finally, Galectin-3 was able to predict 3-yr mortality with a specificity of 83.33% and a sensitivity of 91.84%.

CONCLUSION: Galectin-3 showed a direct association to nocturnal respiratory indices and to cardiac remodelling in patients with OSA. OSA-induced inflammation may play an important role in the pathogenesis of heart damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Proteins
  • Female
  • Galectin 3
  • Galectins
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils
  • Polysomnography
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive


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