Use of mild hyperbaric oxygen less than 2 atmospheres absolute (2026.54 hPa) with normal air is emerging as a common complementary treatment for severe muscle injury. Although hyperbaric oxygen at over 2 atmospheres absolute with 100% O2 promotes healing of skeletal muscle injury, it is not clear whether mild hyperbaric oxygen is equally effective.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the impact of hyperbaric oxygen at 1.25 atmospheres absolute (1266.59 hPa) with normal air on muscle regeneration.
Additionally, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-10 mRNA expression levels were significantly higher in rats exposed to hyperbaric oxygen than in controls 24 h after injury. The number of Pax7- and MyoD- or MyoD- and myogenin-positive nuclei per mm2 and the expression levels of these proteins were significantly higher in rats exposed to hyperbaric oxygen than in controls 5 days after injury.
These results suggest that mild hyperbaric oxygen promotes skeletal muscle regeneration in the early phase after injury, possibly due to reduced hypoxic conditions leading to accelerated macrophage infiltration and phenotype transition. In conclusion, mild hyperbaric oxygen less than 2 atmospheres absolute with normal air is an appropriate support therapy for severe muscle injuries.