OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy on the cardiovascular alteration (e.g. mean arterial pressure, vascular reactivity of thoracic aorta rings changes) caused by zymosan in rats. DESIGN: Rats. SETTING: University research laboratory. INTERVENTION AND MEASUREMENTS: We investigated the effects of HBO therapy (2 ATA at the fourth and eleventh hours after study onset) on the cardiovascular alteration caused by zymosan (500 mg/kg, administered i.p. as a suspension in saline) in rats. Cardiovascular alterations were assessed 18 h after administration of zymosan and/or HBO therapy. RESULTS: Treatment of rats with HBO therapy attenuated the vasoplegic response to zymosan. In fact, the analysis of arterial pressure curves revealed no signs of vasoplegic shock. The aorta rings of animals treated with zymosan and HBO had a significantly increased contraction to norepinephrine (NE) and endothelin-1 (ET-1) and dilation to acetylcholine (ACh) compared with the zymosan group. The HBO therapy also attenuated the increase of malondialdehyde (MDA) levels caused by zymosan in the aorta. Immunohistochemical analysis for nitrotyrosine and for iNOS revealed positive staining in the aorta from zymosan-treated rats. The degree of staining for nitrotyrosine and iNOS was markedly reduced in tissue sections obtained from zymosan-rats treated with HBO therapy. CONCLUSION: This study provides the first evidence that HBO therapy attenuates the degree of zymosan-induced cardiovascular derangement in the rat.
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