The research was done by Stephen Thom, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine.
He said that a course of hyperbaric oxygen treatments would increase the number of circulating stem cells in the body of the patient.
Stem cells are progenitor cells which are totipotent and pluripotent meaning that they have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell. They are very important in the time of injury repair.
Stem cells are mainly present only in the bone marrow of the human beings. When an injury occurs these cells are transported to the injured site.
Here they differentiate in the cells that have been injured and replace the injured cells in the patient's body.
This movement of stem cells from the bone marrow to the injured site is caused by a variety of stimulus for example drugs and hyperbaric oxygen treatments.
When the former way of treatment is undertaken there is an increased risk of side effects suffered by the host. In case of the latter treatment there is a significantly lower risk of side effects.
In this study the detailed mechanism of how the hyperbaric oxygen functions and the various other options for the safe mobilization of the stem cells to the injured site.
When the experiments were conducted in animal models it showed that the movement of the stem cells was mainly due to the increase in the synthesis of nitric oxide in the bone marrow.
This was then followed by the triggering of other enzymes which helps in the movement of the stem cells to the site of injury for the healing process to occur.