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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Only minor stem cell mobilization in head and neck irradiated patients treated with hyperbaric oxygen

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INTRODUCTION: Hyperbaric oxygen, (HBO) is used to treat several conditions including late radiation tissue injury. Previous studies have suggested that HBO mobilizes bone marrow derived stem/progenitor cells (SPC) to the peripheral blood, however possible cumulative effects were highly variable.

METHODS: We have investigated a possible HBO-induced mobilization of SPCs by determining CD34+CD45dim cell numbers, as well as SPCs in general. The latter were characterized by high aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity by use of the Aldefluor® assay. We included ten patients admitted for HBO treatment of radiation tissue injury. Six patients completed the 29-30 HBO treatment exposures. We also investigated possible HBO-induced effects on platelet activation as measured by flow cytometry and functional analyses.

RESULTS: We found a weak and insignificant tendency toward mobilization of CD34+CD45dim cells after a single HBO exposure versus before. Additionally, we found an additive effect of 15 HBO exposures on the increase in CD34+CD45dim cells relative to the pre-1st-HBO values. These changes were significantly more than zero but less than a doubling. We could not demonstrate a significant effect of HBO on the content of Aldefluor® positive SPCs in peripheral blood. There was no significant effect on platelet activation overall. However, in patients with increased expression of activation markers at baseline, we found a decrease after one exposure although this was not reflected in functional tests.

CONCLUSION: We found a minor statistically significant mobilizing effect of HBO treatment on the bone marrow derived stem/progenitor cell content in peripheral blood after 15 treatments (n = 10 patients), but no effect after 30 treatments (n = 6 patients). However, because of the low number of patients we cannot confidentially prove or disprove the null hypothesis. The possibility that HBO treatment reduces the number of activated platelets could not be demonstrated nor excluded.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiving and Hyperbaric Medicine
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)175-185
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2019

ID: 58005581