OBJECTIVE To evaluate the mRNA expression of T helper (Th)1, Th2, and Th17 cell–associated inflammatory mediators in cells of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples collected from healthy horses exposed to hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) and to monitor blood oxygen concentration during and following HBO therapy.
ANIMALS 8 healthy horses.
PROCEDURES In a randomized controlled crossover design study, each horse was exposed (beginning day 1) to 100% oxygen at a maximum of 3 atmospheres absolute (304 kPa) daily for 10 days or ambient air at atmospheric pressure in the HBO chamber for an equivalent amount of time (control). Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples were collected on days 0 and 10. After validation of candidate reference genes, relative mRNA expressions of various innate inflammatory, Th1 cell–derived, Th2 cell–derived (including eotaxin-2), Th17 cell–derived, and regulatory cytokines were measured by quantitative PCR assays. For 3 horses, arterial blood samples were collected for blood gas analysis during a separate HBO session.
RESULTS The optimal combination of reference genes was glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, hypoxanthine ribosyltransferase, and ribosomal protein L32. Compared with day 0 findings, expression of eotaxin-2 mRNA was significantly lower (0.12-fold reduction) and the percentage of neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples was significantly lower on day 10 when horses received HBO therapy. Values of Pao2 rapidly increased (> 800 mm Hg) but immediately decreased to pretreatment values when HBO sessions ended.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that HBO therapy does not increase mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines, but reduces eotaxin-2 mRNA transcription. The Pao2 increase was transient with no cumulative effects of HBO.