Oxygen environments were used to study the regenerative effects of hyperbaric oxygen on crushed sciatic nerves in 30 adult male rabbits. Six different oxygen environments were used, and treatments were initiated 4 days post injury. Transmission electron microscopy and light microscopy were used to evaluate the regenerative morphology of crushed nerves. The morphology of crushed nerves after 7 wk of treatment with compressed oxygen at 202, 242, and 303 kPa resembled normal uncrushed nerves, with nerve fibers uniformly distributed throughout the section. The treatment groups receiving 202 kPa compressed air, 100% normobaric oxygen, or ambient air did not display morphologies similar to normal uncrushed nerve. The nerves in these animals were edematous and contained disarrayed nerve fibers. Myelination in the animals receiving 100% O2 at high pressures resembled undamaged nerves. Collagen and blood vessels were more evident in the lower pressure/oxygen tension treatments than in the animals receiving 100% O2 at higher pressures. The neurofilamentous material inside the crushed control axons was dense, whereas in the axons of animals treated with compressed O2 it was loosely packed. These differences in morphology suggest that treatments consisting of 100% O2 under pressure can accelerate a peripheral nerve’s recovery from a crush injury.

Bradshaw, Nelson, Fanton, Yates, Kagan-Hallet, , , , (1996). Effect of hyperbaric oxygenation on peripheral nerve regeneration in adult male rabbits. Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc, 1996 Jun;23(2):107-13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8840479