Cerebral malaria (CM) is a syndrome characterized by neurological signs, seizures and coma. Despite the fact that CM presents similarities with cerebral stroke, few studies have focused on new supportive therapies for the disease. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy has been successfully used in patients with numerous brain disorders such as stroke, migraine and atherosclerosis. C57BL/6 mice infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) were exposed to daily doses of HBO (100% O(2), 3.0 ATA, 1-2 h per day) in conditions well-tolerated by humans and animals, before or after parasite establishment. Cumulative survival analyses demonstrated that HBO therapy protected 50% of PbA-infected mice and delayed CM-specific neurological signs when administrated after patent parasitemia. Pressurized oxygen therapy reduced peripheral parasitemia, expression of TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma and IL-10 mRNA levels and percentage of gammadelta and alphabeta CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes sequestered in mice brains, thus resulting in a reduction of blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction and hypothermia. The data presented here is the first indication that HBO treatment could be used as supportive therapy, perhaps in association with neuroprotective drugs, to prevent CM clinical outcomes, including death.

Blanco, Farias, Goelnitz, Lopes, Arrais-Silva, Carvalho, Amino, Wunderlich, (2008). Hyperbaric oxygen prevents early death caused by experimental cerebral malaria. PloS one, 2008 Sep;3(9):e3126. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18769544