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Summary

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is associated with multiple cardiometabolic abnormalities. Obesity is considered a major risk factor for the development of OSA, and it is also an established risk factor for insulin resistance and other cardiometabolic disorders. The enigma remains whether OSA has any causal role in the adverse metabolic profile, independent of or beyond that due to obesity. Sleep apnoeas and hypopnoeas result directly in intermittent hypoxaemia and cerebral arousals, both of which may evoke a cascade of downstream biologic responses in various body tissues and cells. Adipose tissue is a major source of adipocytokines many of which play important roles in the regulation of various metabolic functions. It is hypothesized that OSA may, through its unique pathophysiology, affect metabolic function through modulation of production or action of adipocytokines. This review focuses on insulin resistance, glucose metabolism and relevant adipocytokines in the context of OSA.