Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Treatment has potential to correct behavioral and physical deficits
associated with the disease


December 5, 2017


American Friends of Tel Aviv University


A new
study reveals that hyperbaric oxygen treatments may alleviate symptoms
experienced by patients with Alzheimer’s disease.



A new Tel Aviv University
study reveals that hyperbaric oxygen treatments may ameliorate symptoms
experienced by patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

“This revolutionary
treatment for Alzheimer’s disease uses a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which has
been shown in the past to be extremely effective in treating wounds that were
slow to heal,” says Prof. Uri Ashery of TAU’s Sagol School of Neuroscience
and the Faculty of Life Sciences, who led the research for the study. “We
have now shown for the first time that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can actually
improve the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and correct behavioral deficits
associated with the disease.

“This research is
extremely exciting as it explores a new therapy that holds promise as a
treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” Prof. Ashery says.

The research was
conducted by PhD student Ronit Shapira of TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences; Prof.
Beka Solomon and Dan Frenkel of TAU’s Sagol School of Neuroscience and Faculty
of Life Sciences; and Prof. Shai Efrati of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine,
Sagol School of Neuroscience and Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center. It was published
in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

Patients who undergo
hyperbaric oxygen therapy for different conditions breathe in pure oxygen in a
pressurized room or chamber. In this chamber, the air pressure is increased to
twice that of normal air. Under these conditions, oxygen solubility in the
blood increases and is transported by blood vessels throughout the body. The
added oxygen stimulates the release of growth factors and stem cells, which
themselves promote healing.


The TAU scientists used a
mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease and built a custom-made hyperbaric oxygen
chamber suitable for small animals. Then, over the course of 14 days, the team
administered hyperbaric oxygen treatment to the mice for one hour per day.
After 14 days, the mice underwent a series of behavioral tests as well as tissue
biochemical tests to understand how hyperbaric oxygen treatment affects the
pathological hallmarks associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The treatment reduced
behavioral deficiencies compared to the non-transgenic control mice, reduced
plaque pathology by 40%, and reduced neuroinflammation by about 40%.

“There are serious
clinical implications to this research,” says Shapira, principal
investigator of the study. “Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a
well-tolerated and safe therapy used in clinics around the world for various
medical conditions, including neurological disorders. Although further research
is needed to elucidate the underlying beneficial mechanisms of the therapy and
to evaluate its beneficial effects in various Alzheimer patient populations, it
holds great potential for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

“In this hallmark
study, the beneficial physiological effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy were
directly demonstrated on Alzheimer-affected brain tissue,” says Prof.
Efrati. “We assume that the main challenge in human use will be to
initiate the treatment at early stages before significant amount of brain
tissue is lost.”

The researchers are
currently testing the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on an
additional mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease to investigate the mechanisms
underlying its impact on the disease.

Story Source:

Materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Content
may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

1.    Ronit Shapira, Beka
Solomon, Shai Efrati, Dan Frenkel, Uri Ashery. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
ameliorates pathophysiology of 3xTg-AD mouse model by attenuating
. Neurobiology of Aging, 2018; 62: 105 DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.10.007