Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Improves Glucose Homeostasis in Type 2 Diabetes Patients: A Likely Involvement of the Carotid Bodies

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;860:221-5. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-18440-1_24.


The carotid bodies (CBs) are peripheral chemoreceptors that respond to hypoxia increasing minute ventilation and activating the sympathetic nervous system. Besides its role in ventilation we recently described that CB regulate peripheral insulin sensitivity. Knowing that the CB is functionally blocked by hyperoxia and that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) improves fasting blood glucose in diabetes patients, we have investigated the effect of HBOT on glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetes patients. Volunteers with indication for HBOT were recruited at the Subaquatic and Hyperbaric Medicine Center of Portuguese Navy and divided into two groups: type 2 diabetes patients and controls. Groups were submitted to 20 sessions of HBOT. OGTT were done before the first and after the last HBOT session. Sixteen diabetic patients and 16 control individual were included. Fasting glycemia was143.5 ± 12.62 mg/dl in diabetic patients and 92.06 ± 2.99 mg/dl in controls. In diabetic patients glycemia post-OGTT was 280.25 ± 22.29 mg/dl before the first HBOT session. After 20 sessions, fasting and 2 h post-OGTT glycemia decreased significantly. In control group HBOT did not modify fasting glycemia and post-OGTT glycemia. Our results showed that HBOT ameliorates glucose tolerance in diabetic patients and suggest that HBOT could be used as a therapeutic intervention for type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Carotid Body / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Blood Glucose