Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been suggested as a potential adjunctive therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). The aim of this study was to investigate the protective mechanisms of HBOT on neurons and motor function in a 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of PD and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+
)-mediated neurotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells on the potential protective capability. In vivo: male C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into three groups: control, MPTP group and MPTP+HBOT group. The MPTP-treated mice were intraperitoneally received MPTP (20 mg/kg) four times at 2 h intervals within a day. The day after MPTP treatment, MPTP+HBOT mice were exposed to hyperbaric oxygen at 2.5 atmosphere absolute (ATA) with 100% oxygen for 1 h once daily for 7 consecutive days. In vitro: retinoic acid (RA)-differentiated SH-SY5Y cells were treated with MPP+
for 1 h followed by hyperbaric oxygen at 2.5 ATA with 100% oxygen for 1 h. The results showed that MPTP induced a significant loss in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in the SNpc of mice. HBOT treatment significantly increased the number of TH-positive neurons, with enhanced neurotrophic factor BDNF, decreased apoptotic signaling and attenuated inflammatory mediators in the midbrain of MPTP-treated mice. In addition, MPTP treatment decreased the locomotor activity and grip strength of mice, and these effects were shown to improve after HBOT treatment. Furthermore, MPTP decreased mitochondrial biogenesis signaling (SIRT-1, PGC-1α and TFAM), as well as mitochondrial marker VDAC expression, while HBOT treatment was shown to upregulate protein expression. In cell experiments, MPP+
reduced neurite length, while HBOT treatment attenuated neurite retraction. Conclusions: the effects of HBOT in MPTP-treated mice might come from promoting mitochondrial biogenesis, decreasing apoptotic signaling and attenuating inflammatory mediators in the midbrain, suggesting its potential benefits in PD treatment.
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