Our previous study demonstrated that hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) preconditioning protected against myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury (MIRI) and improved myocardial infarction. However, HBO’s effect on MIRI-induced inflammation and autophagy remains unclear. In this study, we investigate the potential impact and underlying mechanism of HBO preconditioning on an MIRI-induced inflammatory response and autophagy using a ligation of the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery rat model. Our results showed that HBO restored myocardial enzyme levels and decreased the apoptosis of cardiomyocytes, which were induced by MIRI. Moreover, HBO significantly suppressed MIRI-induced inflammatory cytokines. This effect was associated with the inhibition of the TLR4-nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) pathway. Interestingly, lower expression levels of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B (LC3B) and Beclin-1 were observed in the HBO-treatment group. Furthermore, we observed that HBO reduced excessive autophagy by activating the mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, as evidenced by higher expression levels of threonine protein kinase (Akt) and phosphorylated-mTOR. In conclusion, HBO protected cardiomocytes during MIRI by attenuating inflammation and autophagy. Our results provide a new mechanistic insight into the cardioprotective role of HBO against MIRI.

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