Objective: To evaluate the therapeutic effect and the oxidative stress effect of 9 and 18 hour hyperbaric oxygenation therapy (HBOT) protocols on the earliest stage of acute permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rats.
Methods: The permanent MCAO model of rats was used. The animals were randomly divided into 9 and 18 hour HBOT groups, as well as a control group.
Main outcome measures: (1) The Garcia neurological grading system was used to assess the therapeutic effect of hyperbaric oxygenation therapy; (2) the infarct volume was calculated with the 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) pathologic staining and NIH Image J software 24 and 120 hours after MCAO; (3) the level of reactive oxygen species determined by superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) in ischemic brain tissue were separately examined at the 18, 48 and 120 hour post-ischemia time points using spectrophotometry.
Results: (1) There were significant improvements in the neurobehavioral outcome of the rats in the 9 and the 18 hour groups, as compared with rats from the control group (p<0.01); (2) cerebral infarct volume decreased 63-64% in the rats of 9 hour group and 51-66% in the 18 hour group at the 24 and 120 hour time points, as compared with that of the control group; (3) the SOD levels of the 9 and 18 hour groups were remarkably lower than those of control group after both 18 and 48 hours (p<0.01 and p<0.05); (4) the MDA level of the 9 and 18 hour groups were both remarkably lower than the control groups, especially at 18 hours (p<0.05). Meanwhile, the MDA level in the 9 hour group was remarkably lower than both the 18 hour group and the control group (p<0.01 and p<0.05); (5) the level of NO in both hyperbaric oxygenation therapy groups were remarkably higher than that of the control at 18 and 48 hour time points (p<0.01). While the level in 18 hour group was remarkably lower than that of 9 hour group at 18 hour time point (p<0.05). At the 120 hour mark, the NO levels were basically the same in all the three groups.
Conclusions: (1) The two protocols of large dose hyperbaric oxygenation therapy are highly efficient in reducing infarct volume and improving neurobehavioral outcome in permanent MCAO rats within the earliest stages of stroke; (2) increased duration of hyperbaric oxygenation therapy does not appear to equate to improved outcomes; in fact, the longer duration may aggravate the oxidative stress in ischemic tissue.