Objective: This study investigated the effect of hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) on neural stem cells (NSCs) and myelin in neonatal rats following hypoxic-ischemic brain damage (HIBD) and aimed to explore the possible mechanism of the protective effect of HBO on HIBD.
Methods: Seven-day-old Sprague-Dawley rat pups were randomly assigned into 4 groups: Normal control, HIBD, hyperbaric air (HBA), and HBO groups (n=30 each). The HIBD model was produced by permanent occlusion of the left common carotid artery and 2 hrs hypoxemia exposure (8% O2 at 37 degrees C). HBA and HBO treatment was administered (2 ATA, once daily for 7 days) in the HBA and HBO groups respectively 1 hr after HIBD. BrdU immunohistochemistry was used to detect the NSCs in the sub-ventricle zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricle and the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus. The myelin damage was assessed by myelin basic protein (MBP) immunostaining.
Results: The BrdU-positive cells in the SVZ and the DG of the ischemic hemisphere in the HIBD group were dramatically decreased compared with those of the Normal control group at 3 weeks post-HIBD (P < 0.01). The HBO treatment resulted in an increase of BrdU-positive cells in the DG from 153.7 +/- 37.0 to 193.7 +/- 38.8 (P < 0.05). The nestin expression in the HIBD and HBA groups was reduced compared with that in the Normal control group. There was no difference in the nestin expression between the HBO and the Normal control groups. Hypoxia-ischemia (HI) led to marked myelin damage at 1 week post-HIBD. HBO or HBA treatment alleviated the damage.
Conclusions: The HBO treatment can result in the proliferation of BrdU-positive cells and alleviate the myelin damage following HIBD in neonatal rats, thereby offering neuroprotectivity against HI insults.