Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Improves Glucose Homeostasis in Type 2 Diabetes Patients: A Likely Involvement of the Carotid Bodies

  • P. Vera-Cruz
  • F. Guerreiro
  • M. J. Ribeiro
  • M. P. Guarino
  • S. V. CondeEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 860)


The carotid bodies (CBs) are peripheral chemoreceptors that respond to hypoxia increasing minute ventilation and activating the sympathetic nervous system. Besides its role in ventilation we recently described that CB regulate peripheral insulin sensitivity. Knowing that the CB is functionally blocked by hyperoxia and that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) improves fasting blood glucose in diabetes patients, we have investigated the effect of HBOT on glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetes patients. Volunteers with indication for HBOT were recruited at the Subaquatic and Hyperbaric Medicine Center of Portuguese Navy and divided into two groups: type 2 diabetes patients and controls. Groups were submitted to 20 sessions of HBOT. OGTT were done before the first and after the last HBOT session. Sixteen diabetic patients and 16 control individual were included. Fasting glycemia was143.5 ± 12.62 mg/dl in diabetic patients and 92.06 ± 2.99 mg/dl in controls. In diabetic patients glycemia post-OGTT was 280.25 ± 22.29 mg/dl before the first HBOT session. After 20 sessions, fasting and 2 h post-OGTT glycemia decreased significantly. In control group HBOT did not modify fasting glycemia and post-OGTT glycemia. Our results showed that HBOT ameliorates glucose tolerance in diabetic patients and suggest that HBOT could be used as a therapeutic intervention for type 2 diabetes.


Glucose tolerance Hyperbaric oxygen therapy Type 2 diabetes 


  1. Al-Waili NS, Butler GJ, Beale J, Abdullah MS, Finkelstein M, Merrow M, Rivera R, Petrillo R, Carrey Z, Lee B, Allen M (2006) Influences of hyperbaric oxygen on blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Arch Med Res 37:991–997PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chateau-Degat ML, Belley R (2012) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy decreases blood pressure in patients with chronic wounds. Undersea Hyperb Med 39:881–889PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Desola J, Crespo A, Garcia A, Salinas A, Sala J, Sánchez U (1998) Indicaciones y contraindicaciones de la oxigenoterapia hiperbárica. JANO/Medicina LIV(1260):5–11Google Scholar
  4. Ekanayake L, Doolette DJ (2001) Effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on blood sugar levels and insulin levels in diabetics. SPUMS 31:16–20Google Scholar
  5. Fidone SJ, Gonzalez C (1986) Initiation and control of chemoreceptor activity in the carotid body. In: Cherniack NS, Widdicombe JG (eds) Handbook of physiology, Section 3, The respiratory system, vol II, Control of breathing, Part 1. American Physiological Society, Bethesda, pp 247–312Google Scholar
  6. Fujita N, Nagatomo F, Murakami S, Kondo H, Ishihara A, Fujino H (2012) Effects of hyperbaric oxygen on metabolic capacity of the skeletal muscle in type 2 diabetic rats with obesity. ScientificWorldJournal 637978Google Scholar
  7. Karadurmus N, Sahin M, Tasci C, Naharci I, Ozturk C, Ilbasmis S, Dulkadir Z, Sen A, Saglam K (2010) Potential benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on atherosclerosis and glycemic control in patients with diabetic foot. Endokrynol Pol 61:275–279PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Matsunami T, Sato Y, Morishima T, Mano Y, Yukawa M (2008) Enhancement of glucose toxicity by hyperbaric oxygen exposure in diabetic rats. J Exp Med 216:127–132Google Scholar
  9. Peleg RK, Fishlev G, Bechor Y, Bergan J, Friedman M, Koren S, Tirosh A, Efrati S (2013) Effects of hyperbaric oxygen on blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes mellitus, stroke or traumatic injury and healthy volunteers: a prospective, crossover, controlled trial. Diving Hyperb Med 43:218–221PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Ribeiro MJ, Sacramento JF, Gonzalez C, Guarino MP, Monteiro EC, Conde SV (2013) Carotid body denervation prevents the development of insulin resistance and hypertension induced by hypercaloric diets. Diabetes 62:2905–2916PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Sinski M, Lewandowski J, Przybylski J, Zalewski P, Symonides B, Abramczyk P, Gaciong Z (2014) Deactivation of carotid body chemoreceptors by hyperoxia decreases blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Hypertens Res 37:858–862PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Wilkinson D, Chapman IM, Heilbronn LK (2012) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves peripheral insulin sensitivity in humans. Diabet Med 29:986–989PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Vera-Cruz
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Guerreiro
    • 3
  • M. J. Ribeiro
    • 1
  • M. P. Guarino
    • 1
    • 4
  • S. V. Conde
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.CEDOC, Centro de Estudos Doenças Crónicas, Nova Medical School, Faculdade de Ciências MédicasUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.CINAVNaval Research CentreLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Subaquatic and Hyperbaric Medicine Centre of the Portuguese NavyLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.School of Health Sciences; Health Research Unit – UISPolytechnic Institute of LeiriaLeiriaPortugal

Personalised recommendations