After promising results in experimental stroke, normobaric (NBO) or hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) have recently been discussed as co-medication with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for improving outcome. This study assessed the interactions of hyperoxia and tPA, focusing on survival, early functional outcome and blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity following experimental stroke.
Rats (n = 109) underwent embolic middle cerebral artery occlusion or sham surgery. Animals were assigned to: Control, NBO (60-minute pure oxygen), HBO (60-minute pure oxygen at 2.4 absolute atmospheres), tPA, or HBO+tPA. Functional impairment was assessed at 4 and 24 hours using Menzies score, followed by intravenous application of FITC-albumin as a BBB permeability marker, which was allowed to circulate for 1 hour. Further, blood sampling was performed at 5 and 25 hours for MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 concentration.
Mortality rates did not differ significantly between groups, whereas functional improvement was found for NBO, tPA and HBO+tPA. NBO and HBO tended to stabilize BBB and to reduce MMP-2. tPA tended to increase BBB permeability with corresponding MMP and TIMP elevation. Co-administered HBO failed to attenuate these early deleterious effects, independent of functional improvement.