Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) preconditioning (PC) allows brain protection against transient global ischemia. In the present study, we hypothesize that the mechanism of HBO-PC involves the induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in cerebral tissues before ischemia, which leads to a suppression of COX-2 and its downstream targets after global ischemic insult. One hundred twenty-nine male Sprague Dawley rats (body weight 280-300 grams) were allocated to the naive control group and the sham operation group, and 3 groups of animals were subjected to 15-minute 4-vessel occlusion: untreated, preconditioned with HBO 2.5 atmospheres absolutes for 1 hour daily for 5 days, preconditioned as mentioned and administered with COX-2 inhibitor NS-398 (1 mg/kg body weight intraperitoneal) before each preconditioning session, and normal rats preconditioned with HBO without ischemia. The mortality, the incidence of seizures, and T-maze scores were recorded. The quantitative cell count in Nissl stain and TUNEL was conducted on day 7 after ischemia. The brain expression of COX-2 was analyzed with Western blotting and immunofluorescence staining. HBO-PC increased the number of surviving neurons in the Cornu Ammonis area 1, which was associated with the reduced COX-2 expression in the hippocampus and in the cerebral cortex at 1 and 3 days after ischemia. HBO-PC improved functional performance and tended to decrease mortality and the frequency of seizures. These beneficial effects of HBO-PC were abolished by the COX-2 selective inhibitor NS-398. HBO-PC reduced COX-2 expression and provided brain protection after global ischemia. Administration of COX-2 inhibitor with HBO before ischemia abolished preconditioning effect, thereby implicating COX-2 as a mediator of HBO-PC in the ischemic brain.

Cheng, Ostrowski, Wu, Liu, Chen, Zhang, , , (2011). Cyclooxygenase-2 mediates hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning in the rat model of transient global cerebral ischemia. Stroke, 2011 Feb;42(2):484-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21164135