Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been widely applied and recognized in the treatment of brain injury; however, the correlation between the protective effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and changes of metabolites in the brain remains unclear. To investigate the effect and potential mechanism of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on cognitive functioning in rats, we established traumatic brain injury models using Feeney’s free falling method. We treated rat models with hyperbaric oxygen therapy at 0.2 MPa for 60 minutes per day. The Morris water maze test for spatial navigation showed that the average escape latency was significantly prolonged and cognitive function decreased in rats with brain injury. After treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy for 1 and 2 weeks, the rats’ spatial learning and memory abilities were improved. Hydrogen proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy analysis showed that the N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratio in the hippocampal CA3 region was significantly increased at 1 week, and the N-acetylaspartate/choline ratio was significantly increased at 2 weeks after hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Nissl staining and immunohistochemical staining showed that the number of nerve cells and Nissl bodies in the hippocampal CA3 region was significantly increased, and glial fibrillary acidic protein positive cells were decreased after a 2-week hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment. Our findings indicate that hyperbaric oxygen therapy significantly improves cognitive functioning in rats with traumatic brain injury, and the potential mechanism is mediated by metabolic changes and nerve cell restoration in the hippocampal CA3 region.

Liu, Shen, Deng, Wang, Wu, Guo, , , (2013). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves cognitive functioning after brain injury. Neural regeneration research, 2013 Dec;8(35):3334-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25206655