Immediate and delayed hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a neuroprotective treatment for traumatic brain injury in mice

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Traumatic brain injury is the most common cause of death or chronic disability among people under-35-years-old. There is no effective pharmacological treatment currently existing for TBI. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is defined as the inhalation of pure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber that is pressurized higher than 1 atm. HBOT offers physiological and mechanical effects by inducing a state of increased pressure and hyperoxia. HBOT has been proposed as an effective treatment for moderate traumatic brain injury (mTBI), yet the exact therapeutic window and mechanism that underlies this effect is not completely understood.


HBOT was administrated for 4 consecutive days, post a mouse closed head weight drop moderate TBI (mTBI) in 2 different time lines: immediate treatment - initiated 3 h post-injury and delayed treatment - initiated 7 days post-injury. Behavioral cognitive tests and biochemical changes were assessed.


The results were similar for both the immediate and the delayed treatments. mTBI mice exhibited impairment in learning abilities, whereas mTBI mice treated with HBO displayed significant improvement compared with the mTBI group, performing similar to the sham groups. mTBI mice had a decline in myelin basic protein, an increase in neuronal loss (NeuN staining), and an increase in the number of reactive astrocytes (GFAP). The HBO treated mice in both groups did not exhibit these changes and remained similar to the sham group.


The delayed HBOT has a potential to serve as a neuroprotective treatment for mTBI with a long therapeutic window. Further research is needed for fully understanding the cellular changes.

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