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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009 Feb;106(2):711-28. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.91054.2008. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

Hyperbaric oxygen stimulates vasculogenic stem cell growth and differentiation in vivo.

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Institute for Environmental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6068, USA.


We hypothesized that oxidative stress from hyperbaric oxygen (HBO(2), 2.8 ATA for 90 min daily) exerts a trophic effect on vasculogenic stem cells. In a mouse model, circulating stem/progenitor cell (SPC) recruitment and differentiation in subcutaneous Matrigel were stimulated by HBO(2) and by a physiological oxidative stressor, lactate. In combination, HBO(2) and lactate had additive effects. Vascular channels lined by CD34(+) SPCs were identified. HBO(2) and lactate accelerated channel development, cell differentiation based on surface marker expression, and cell cycle entry. CD34(+) SPCs exhibited increases in thioredoxin-1 (Trx1), Trx reductase, hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF)-1, -2, and -3, phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinases, vascular endothelial growth factor, and stromal cell-derived factor-1. Cell recruitment to Matrigel and protein synthesis responses were abrogated by N-acetyl cysteine, dithioerythritol, oxamate, apocynin, U-0126, neutralizing anti-vascular endothelial growth factor, or anti-stromal cell-derived factor-1 antibodies, and small inhibitory RNA to Trx reductase, lactate dehydrogenase, gp91(phox), HIF-1 or -2, and in mice conditionally null for HIF-1 in myeloid cells. By causing an oxidative stress, HBO(2) activates a physiological redox-active autocrine loop in SPCs that stimulates vasculogenesis. Thioredoxin system activation leads to elevations in HIF-1 and -2, followed by synthesis of HIF-dependent growth factors. HIF-3 has a negative impact on SPCs.

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