Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Protects Against Spinal Cord Injury by Inhibiting Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Rats

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Study Design.

Experimental animal study of treatment of SCI.


To explore whether HBO treatment protects against secondary SCI by inhibiting the ER stress response.

Summary of Background Data.

SCI is a neurological disorder that can severely limit the execution of the simplest day-to-day functions. ER stress plays an important role in the induction of neuronal apoptosis after SCI. HBO treatment can alleviate secondary injury and benefit neurological recovery after SCI, but the effect of HBO on ER stress response after SCI is yet to be characterized.


The spinal cord of rats was injured via T10 laminectomy. Experimental animals were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: sham-operated, SCI, and SCI+HBO. Each group was analyzed 1, 2, 3, 7, and 14 days after injury. Neurological recovery was evaluated using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) scoring system and the TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling reaction was carried out to visualize apoptotic cells. The expression of ER stress-related factors was evaluated by immunohistochemical, western blot, and real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analyses.


SCI-induced apoptosis and an increase in the levels of CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), and caspase-12 and caspase-3 compared with the sham-operated group. HBO treatment decreased CHOP and caspase-12 and caspase-3 expression as well as apoptosis compared with the SCI group. In addition, BBB scores were improved in the SCI+HBO relative to the SCI group at 7 and 14 days.


These results suggest that HBO treatment alleviates secondary injury to the spinal cord by inhibiting ER stress induced apoptosis, thereby promoting the recovery of neurological function.


Level of Evidence: N/A

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