Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is widely used as an effective off-label use for stroke victims. Research has found that this therapy not only targets oxygenation of the effected area and reduces inflammation, but also has been shown to promote bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) to proliferate and mobilize, which essentially becomes an important part of the neurogenic (nervous system growth) effects that have been demonstrated from hyperbaric procedures. Mobilization of these BMSCs to the damaged areas were more improved in long course hyperbaric treatments, suggesting the duration of therapy is crucial for promoting their neurogenic effects.
It is important to also note that emerging stem cell research has clearly demonstrated that BMSCs secrete brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the addition of anti-BDNF neutralising antibodies to MSC-conditioned medium attenuated its neuroprotective effect <view study>
This study also looked at the release of BDNF and found that a 3 week course of HBOT was able to produce significantly higher levels of BDNF and GDNF, than shorter 2 day course of HBO. These results indicated that longer and repetitive HBO therapy promoted more neurotrophic factor production, including BDNF and GDNF. <view study>