Upper airway obstruction can lead to growth retardation by unclear mechanisms. We explored the effect of upper airway obstruction in juvenile rats on whole-body energy balance, growth plate metabolism, and growth. We show that after seven weeks, obstructed animals' ventilation during room air breathing increased, and animals grew less due to abnormal growth plate metabolism. Increased caloric intake in upper airway-obstructed animals did not meet increased energy expenditure associated with increased work of breathing. Decreased whole-body energy balance induced hindrance of bone elongation following obstruction removal, and array pathways regulating growth plate development and marrow adiposity. This is the first study to show that rapidly growing animals cannot consume enough calories to maintain their energy homeostasis, leading to an impediment in growth in the effort to save energy.
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