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Exp Brain Res. 2013 Jan;224(1):1-14. doi: 10.1007/s00221-012-3283-5. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Hyperbaric oxygen and hyperbaric air treatment result in comparable neuronal death reduction and improved behavioral outcome after transient forebrain ischemia in the gerbil.

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  • 1Department of Neurochemistry, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, 5 Pawinskiego Str., 02-106 Warsaw, Poland.

Abstract

Anoxic brain injury resulting from cardiac arrest is responsible for approximately two-thirds of deaths. Recent evidence suggests that increased oxygen delivered to the brain after cardiac arrest may be an important factor in preventing neuronal damage, resulting in an interest in hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy. Interestingly, increased oxygen supply may be also reached by application of normobaric oxygen (NBO) or hyperbaric air (HBA). However, previous research also showed that the beneficial effect of hyperbaric treatment may not directly result from increased oxygen supply, leading to the conclusion that the mechanism of hyperbaric prevention of brain damage is not well understood. The aim of our study was to compare the effects of HBO, HBA and NBO treatment on gerbil brain condition after transient forebrain ischemia, serving as a model of cardiac arrest. Thereby, we investigated the effects of repetitive HBO, HBA and NBO treatment on hippocampal CA1 neuronal survival, brain temperature and gerbils behavior (the nest building), depending on the time of initiation of the therapy (1, 3 and 6 h after ischemia). HBO and HBA applied 1, 3 and 6 h after ischemia significantly increased neuronal survival and behavioral performance and abolished the ischemia-evoked brain temperature increase. NBO treatment was most effective when applied 1 h after ischemia; later application had a weak or no protective effect. The results show that HBO and HBA applied between 1 and 6 h after ischemia prevent ischemia-evoked neuronal damage, which may be due to the inhibition of brain temperature increase, as a result of the applied rise in ambient pressure, and just not due to the oxygen per se. This perspective is supported by the finding that NBO treatment was less effective than HBO or HBA therapy. The results presented in this paper may pave the way for future experimental studies dealing with pressure and temperature regulation.

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