Hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning (HBO₂P + HAE) has been found to be beneficial in preventing the occurrence of ischemic damage to brain, spinal cord, heart, and liver in several disease models. In addition, pulmonary inflammation and edema are associated with a marked reduction in the expression levels of both aquaporin (AQP) 1 and AQP5 in the lung. Here, the aims of this study are first to ascertain whether acute lung injury can be induced by simulated high altitude in rats and second to assess whether HBO2P + HAE is able to prevent the occurrence of the proposed high altitude-induced ALI. Rats were randomly divided into the following three groups: the normobaric air (NBA; 21% O₂ at 1 ATA) group, the HBO₂P + high altitude exposure (HAE) group, and the NBA + HAE group. In HBO₂P + HAE group, animals received 100% O₂ at 2.0 ATA for 1 hour per day, for five consecutive days. In HAE groups, animals were exposed to a simulated HAE of 6,000 m in a hypobaric chamber for 24 hours. Right after being taken out to the ambient, animals were anesthetized generally and killed and thoroughly exsanguinated before their lungs were excised en bloc. The lungs were used for both histologic and molecular evaluation and analysis. In NBA + HAE group, the animals displayed higher scores of alveolar edema, neutrophil infiltration, and hemorrhage compared with those of NBA controls. In contrast, the levels of both AQP1 and AQP5 proteins and mRNA expression in the lung in the NBA + HAE group were significantly lower than those of NBA controls. However, the increased lung injury scores and the decreased levels of both AQP1 and AQP5 proteins and mRNA expression in the lung caused by HAE was significantly reduced by HBO₂P + HAE. Our results suggest that high altitude pulmonary injury may be prevented by HBO2P + HAE in rats.

Li, Gao, Wang, Liu, Ma, Deng, Niu, Lin, (2011). Reducing pulmonary injury by hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning during simulated high altitude exposure in rats. The Journal of trauma, 2011 Sep;71(3):673-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21248653