, Volume 191, Issue 5, pp 459–466 | Cite as

The Effect of Acute Exposure to Hyperbaric Oxygen on Respiratory System Mechanics in the Rat

  • Alessandro RubiniEmail author
  • Andrea Porzionato
  • Susi Zara
  • Amelia Cataldi
  • Giacomo Garetto
  • Gerardo Bosco



This study was designed to investigate the possible effects of acute hyperbaric hyperoxia on respiratory mechanics of anaesthetised, positive-pressure ventilated rats.


We measured respiratory mechanics by the end-inflation occlusion method in nine rats previously acutely exposed to hyperbaric hyperoxia in a standard fashion. The method allows the measurements of respiratory system elastance and of both the “ohmic” and of the viscoelastic components of airway resistance, which respectively depend on the newtonian pressure dissipation due to the ohmic airway resistance to air flow, and on the viscoelastic pressure dissipation caused by respiratory system tissues stress–relaxation. The activities of inducible and endothelial NO-synthase in the lung’s tissues (iNOS and eNOS respectively) also were investigated. Data were compared with those obtained in control animals.


We found that the exposure to hyperbaric hyperoxia increased respiratory system elastance and both the “ohmic” and viscoelastic components of inspiratory resistances. These changes were accompanied by increased iNOS but not eNOS activities.


Hyperbaric hyperoxia was shown to acutely induce detrimental effects on respiratory mechanics. A possible causative role was suggested for increased nitrogen reactive species production because of increased iNOS activity.


End-inflation occlusion method Hyperbaric hyperoxia NO-synthase Rat Respiratory mechanics 



The authors gratefully thank Giorgio Lupi for the technical assistance, and Hyperbaric Medical Center-Association hyperbaric technicians ATIP, Padova, Italy. The animals were housed and treated in accordance with Italian law on animal experimentation (L. 116/92) and with the European Council (EC) provision 86/609/EEC.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Rubini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrea Porzionato
    • 2
  • Susi Zara
    • 3
  • Amelia Cataldi
    • 3
  • Giacomo Garetto
    • 4
  • Gerardo Bosco
    • 1
  1. 1.Section Physiology, Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Section Anatomy, Department of Molecular MedicineUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Department of PharmacyUniversity “G. D’Annunzio” Chieti-PescaraChietiItaly
  4. 4.Association Hyperbaric Technicians ATIPHyperbaric Medical CenterPaduaItaly

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