Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Alleviates Social Behavior Dysfunction and Neuroinflammation in a Mouse Model for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Sep 21;23(19):11077. doi: 10.3390/ijms231911077.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a multifactorial neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) characterized by impaired social communication and repetitive behavior, among other symptoms. ASD is highly heritable, with SHANK3 being one of the high-risk genes for ASD. In recent years, knowledge has been growing regarding the neuroplasticity effect induced by hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and its potential use for ASD. Here, we characterized the effect of HBOT on a mouse model for ASD with the human genetic condition of InsG3680 mutation in the Shank3 gene. As compared to placebo, HBOT improved social behavior and reduced neuroinflammation in the cortex of the InsG3680(+/+) mice. Specifically, HBOT induced upregulation of Insulin-like growth factor 1 (Igf1) expression levels and reduced the number of Iba1-positive cells in the mouse model for ASD compared to placebo control. Together, our research suggests that HBOT has the potential to improve the clinical outcome of ASD by ameliorating some of the core pathophysiological processes responsible for the development of the disorder.

Keywords: Hif1a; Igf-1; Phelan McDermid syndrome; Shank3; autism spectrum disorder; hyperbaric oxygen therapy; hypoperfusion; microglia; neurodevelopmental disorders; neuroinflammation; social behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Mice
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neuroinflammatory Diseases
  • Social Behavior


  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Shank3 protein, mouse
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.