The treatment of chronic wounds remains inconsistent and empirical. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a promising method to improve wound repair but there is still a lack of understanding of its mechanisms of action and its indications are not yet clearly defined. We studied the effects of HBOT in four different wound conditions by inflicting bilateral wounds on the dorsal aspect of the feet of nonischemic or ischemic limbs in normoglycemic or hyperglycemic rats. To create an ischemic condition, arterial resection was performed unilaterally. Forty-four animals received HBOT five times a week until complete wound closure. Wound repair was compared with 44 rats receiving standard dressing only. HBOT increased blood flow and accelerated wound closure in ischemic and hyperglycemic wounds, most significantly when the two conditions were combined. Wound contraction and reepithelialization were similarly stimulated by HBOT. The acceleration of wound contraction was not associated with increased myofibroblasts expression, nor fibroblast recruitment or higher cell count in the granulation tissue. Of note, we observed a significant increase in collagen deposition in early time points in ischemic wounds receiving HBOT. This data emphasizes that an early application of HBOT might be crucial to its efficacy. We concluded that wounds where ischemia and hyperglycemia are combined, as it is often the case in diabetic patients, have the best chance to benefit from HBOT.
© 2016 The Authors Wound Repair and Regeneration published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Wound Healing Society.