Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) is thought to confer protection to cells via a cellular response to free radicals. This process may involve increased expression of heat shock proteins, in particular the highly inducible heat shock protein 72 (Hsp72). Healthy male volunteers (n = 16) were subjected to HBO for 1 h at 2.8 ATA. Inducible Hsp72 expression was measured by flow cytometry pre-, post- and 4 h-post HBO. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were isolated from whole blood via density centrifugation pre-, post- and 4 h post-HBO. PBMC were then subjected to an in vitro heat shock at 40°C or hypoxia at 37°C (5% O2) with a control at 37°C. Cells were then analysed for Hsp72 expression by flow cytometry. Monocytes showed no significant changes in Hsp72 expression following HBO. No detectable Hsp72 was seen in lymphocytes or neutrophils. Following in vitro hypoxic exposure, a significant increase in Hsp72 expression was observed in monocytes isolated immediately post- (p = 0.006) and 4 h post-HBO (p = 0.010) in comparison to control values. HBO does not induce Hsp72 expression in PBMC. The reported benefits of HBO in terms of pre-conditioning are not due to inducement of Hsp72 expression in circulating blood cells, but may involve an enhancement of the stress response.
- Hyperbaric oxygen
- Heat shock