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BACKGROUND: Thousands of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have used self-administered oxygen therapy in the UK. Clinical trials have been performed, with scant evidence that people with MS have been consulted to explore how they benefit from or how to optimize this treatment. The conventional MS disease disability scores used in trials seldom reflect the effects individuals report when using oxygen therapy to treat their symptoms. METHODS: Three people with MS and the manager of an MS Centre formed a public involvement group and collaborated with clinicians and scientists to inform a lab-based study to investigate the physiological effects of oxygen therapy on microvascular brain endothelial cells. RESULTS: People with MS often use oxygen therapy at a later stage when their symptoms worsen and only after using other treatments. The frequency of oxygen therapy sessions and hyperbaric pressure is individualized and varies for people with MS. Despite direct comparisons of efficacy proving difficult, most individuals are exposed to 100% O2 at 1.5 atmosphere absolute (ATA; 1140 mmHg absolute) for 60 min. In a laboratory-based study human brain endothelial cells were exposed in vitro to 152 mmHg O2 for 60 min with and without pressure, as this equates to 20% O2 achievable via hyperbarics, which was then replicated at atmospheric pressure. A significant reduction in endothelial cells ICAM-1 (CD54) implicated in inflammatory cell margination across the blood brain barrier was observed under oxygen treatment. CONCLUSIONS: By collaborating with people living with MS, we were able to design laboratory-based experimental protocols that replicate their treatment regimens to advance our understanding of the physiological effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on brain cells and their role in neuroinflammation.

Original publication




Journal article


Mult Scler Relat Disord

Publication Date





Adhesion molecules, Endothelial cells, Oxygen therapy, Public involvement, Brain, Endothelial Cells, Humans, Hyperbaric Oxygenation, Multiple Sclerosis, Oxygen