Acute ischemic stroke is a leading cause of mortality and long-term disability, and profiles of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) reflect the degree of endothelial impairment. This study tested the hypothesis that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) both improves the clinical short-term outcomes and increases the number of circulating EPCs and antioxidant capacity. The numbers of circulating EPCs [CD133/CD34 (%), KDR/CD34 (%)], biomarkers for oxidative stress (thiols and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances), and clinical scores (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale [NIHSS], Barthel index [BI], and modified Rankin Scale [MRS]) were prospectively evaluated in 25 patients with acute non-cardioembolic stroke under HBOT at two time points (pre- and post-HBOT). The biomarkers and clinical scores were compared with those of 25 age- and sex-matched disease controls. The numbers of KDR/CD34 (%) in the HBOT group following HBOT increased significantly, whereas the numbers of CD133/CD34 (%) also showed a tendency to increase without statistical significance. The mean high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels showed significant decrease post-HBOT follow-up in the HBOT group. The changes in KDR/CD34EPC (%) numbers were positively correlated with changes in clinical outcomes scores (BI, NIHSS, and MRS) in the HBOT group. Based on the results of our study, HBOT can both improve short-term clinical outcomes and increase the number of circulating EPCs in patients with acute non-cardioembolic stroke.

Chen, Wu, Tsai, Lee, Lin, Hsu, Huang, Lai, (2018). Increased circulating endothelial progenitor cells and improved short-term outcomes in acute non-cardioembolic stroke after hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Journal of translational medicine, 2018 Sep;16(1):255. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30208940