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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2006 Feb;32(1):40-50.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces neuroinflammation and expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 in the rat model of traumatic brain injury.

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Institute of Pathology, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa 31096, Israel.


The acute inflammatory response plays an important role in secondary brain damage after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Neutrophils provide the main source of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) which also play a deleterious role in TBI. Numerous preclinical studies have suggested that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may by beneficial in various noncerebral and cerebral inflammatory diseases. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of HBOT on inflammatory infiltration and the expression of MMPs in correlation with secondary cell death in the rat model of dynamic cortical deformation (DCD). Twenty animals underwent DCD with subsequent HBOT (2.8 ATA, two sessions of 45 min each); 10 animals: DCD and normobaric oxygenation (1 ATA), 10 animals: not treated after DCD. Cell death was evaluated by TUNEL. Neutrophils were revealed by myeloperoxidase staining. Immunohistochemical staining for MMP-2 and -9 and tissue inhibitors of MMP-1 (TIMP-1) and -2 was also performed and the results were quantitatively evaluated by image analysis. In the animals treated by HBOT, a significant decrease in the number of TUNEL-positive cells and neutrophilic inflammatory infiltration was seen in comparison with nontreated animals and those treated by normobaric oxygen. The expression of MMP-9 was also significantly lower in the treated group. Staining for MMP-2 and TIMP-2 did not change significantly. Our results demonstrate that HBOT decreased the extent of secondary cell death and reactive neuroinflammation in the TBI model. The decline of MMP-9 expression after HBOT may also contribute to protection of brain tissue in the perilesional area. Further research should be centred on the evaluation of long-term functional and morphological results of HBOT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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