ABSTRACT: We studied the effect of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) preconditioning on the molecular mechanisms of neuroprotection in a rat focal cerebral ischemic model. Seventy-two male Sprague-Dawley rats were pretreated with HBO (100% O(2), 2 atmospheres absolute, 1 h once every other day for 5 sessions) or with room air. In experiment 1, HBO-preconditioned rats and matched room air controls were subjected to focal cerebral ischemia or sham surgery. Postinjury motor parameters and infarction volumes of HBO-preconditioned rats were compared with those of controls. In experiment 2, HBO-preconditioned rats and matched room air controls were killed at different time points. Brain levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) and its downstream target gene erythropoietin (EPO) analyzed by Western blotting and RT-PCR as well as HIF-1alpha DNA-binding and transcriptional activities were determined in the ipsilateral hemisphere. HBO induced a marked increase in the protein expressions of HIF-1alpha and EPO and the activity of HIF-1alpha, as well as the expression of EPO mRNA. HBO preconditioning dramatically improved the neurobehavioral outcome at all time points (3.0 +/- 2.1 vs. 5.6 +/- 1.5 at 4 h, 5.0 +/- 1.8 vs. 8.8 +/- 1.4 at 8 h, 6.4 +/- 1.8 vs. 9.7 +/- 1.3 at 24 h; P < 0.01, respectively) and reduced infarction volumes (20.7 +/- 4.5 vs. 12.5 +/- 3.6%, 2,3,5-Triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining) after cerebral ischemia. This observation indicates that the neuroprotection induced by HBO preconditioning may be mediated by an upregulation of HIF-1alpha and its target gene EPO.
Journal of Applied Physiology 04/2008; 104(4):1185-91. · 3.75 Impact Factor