Normobaric oxygen (NBO) and hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) are emerging as a possible co-treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Both have been shown to reduce infarct volume, to improve neurologic outcome, to promote endogenous tissue plasminogen activator-induced thrombolysis and cerebral blood flow, and to improve tissue oxygenation through oxygen diffusion in the ischemic areas, thereby questioning the interest of HBO compared to NBO. In the present study, in order to investigate and compare the oxygen diffusion effects of NBO and HBO on acute ischemic stroke independently of their effects at the vascular level, we used acute brain slices exposed to oxygen and glucose deprivation, an ex vivo model of brain ischemia that allows investigating the acute effects of NBO (partial pressure of oxygen (pO 2 ) = 1 atmospheres absolute (ATA) = 0.1 MPa) and HBO (pO 2 = 2.5 ATA = 0.25 MPa) through tissue oxygenation on ischemia-induced cell injury as measured by the release of lactate dehydrogenase. We found that HBO, but not NBO, reduced oxygen and glucose deprivation-induced cell injury, indicating that passive tissue oxygenation (i.e. without vascular support) of the brain parenchyma requires oxygen partial pressure higher than 1 ATA.

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