Attenuation of collagen-induced arthritis by hyperbaric oxygen therapy through altering immune balance in favor of regulatory T cells

Byung In Moon, Hyung Ran Kim, Eun Jeong Choi, Jeong Hae Kie, Ju Young Seoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy is currently used for the treatment of chronic wounds, radiation-induced soft tissue necrosis, several oxygen-deficiency conditions and decompression sickness. In addition to the current indications, much empirical and experimental data suggest that HBO2 therapy may benefit autoimmune diseases by suppressing immunity, but the underlying mechanism is not well understood. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated whether HBO2 prevents the development of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in association with alteration of the immune balance between pro-inflammatory Th17 and anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells (Tregs). Arthritis was induced in DBA/1 mice by intradermal injection of type II collagen. Animals received either no treatment or 90 minutes of HBO2 (100% oxygen, at 2.0 ATA) daily beginning three days prior to the injection and were monitored for the development of arthritis. Six weeks later, joint tissues and spleens were analyzed for the alteration of immune balance between Th17 and Tregs by immunohistochemistry (IHC) or Western blot. Injection of collagen induced extensive arthritis and extramedullary hematopoiesis in the spleens. Meanwhile, joint swelling and inflammatory tissue damages as well as extramedullary hematopoiesis were significantly less severe in the mice treated with HBO2. Both IHC and Western blot showed a decrease of FOXP3 and an increase of pSTAT3 expressions in the joints and spleens of the mice injected with collagen. This suggested that the systemic immune balance was biased toward Th17 cells, which was reversed by HBO2 therapy. These results suggested acute CIA associated with an immune balance favoring Th17 was attenuated by HBO2 in parallel with restoration of the immune balance to favor Tregs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalUndersea and Hyperbaric Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc.


  • Collagen-induced arthritis
  • FOXP3
  • Hyperbaric oxygen
  • Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α
  • Regulatory T cell
  • STAT3


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