PA)- According to a study to be published in The American Journal
of Physiology-Heart and Circulation Physiology, a typical course
of hyperbaric oxygen treatments increases by eight-fold the number
of stem cells circulating in a patient’s body. Stem cells,
also called progenitor cells are crucial to injury repair. The study
currently appears on-line and is scheduled for publication in the
April 2006 edition of the American Journal.
Stem cells exist in the bone marrow of human beings and animals
and are capable of changing their nature to become part of many
different organs and tissues. In response to injury, these cells
move from the bone marrow to the injured sites, where they differentiate
into cells that assist in the healing process. The movement, or
mobilization, of stem cells can be triggered by a variety of stimuli
– including pharmaceutical agents and hyperbaric oxygen treatments.
Where as drugs are associated with a host of side effects, hyperbaric
oxygen treatments carry a significantly lower risk of such effects.
“This is the safest way clinically to increase stem cell
circulation, far safer than any of the pharmaceutical options,”
said Stephen Thom, MD, PhD, Professor of Emergency
Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
and lead author of the study. “This study provides information
on the fundamental mechanisms for hyperbaric oxygen and offers a
new theoretical therapeutic option for mobilizing stem cells.”
“We reproduced the observations from humans in animals in
order to identify the mechanism for the hyperbaric oxygen effect,”
added Thom. “We found that hyperbaric oxygen mobilizes stem/progenitor
cells because it increases synthesis of a molecule called nitric
oxide in the bone marrow. This synthesis is thought to trigger enzymes
that mediate stem/progenitor cell release.”
Hopefully, future study of hyperbaric oxygen’s role in mobilizing
stem cells will provide a wide array of treatments for combating
injury and disease.
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