Effects of oxygen on lymphocyte functions

Lymphocytes survive well in hypoxia and in hyperoxia. However, in vitro, in human lymphocytes stimulated by phytohemagglutinin, RNA synthesis undergoes a decrease after a 48-hour period of anoxia (3 to 9 % O2) and stops after a 48-hour period of anoxia. Likewise, hyperoxia (70 to 100 % O2 for more than 48 hours) inhibits DNA synthesis in lymphocytes. Hyperoxia inhibits the development of B and T lymphocytes (dosage- and duration-dependent effects)55. This effect is reversible after a latency period. A number of studies have demonstrated in vivo that hyperoxia and HBO induced a decrease in DNA synthesis in B and T lymphocytes. In most cases, the in vivo immunosuppressant activity of HBO is combined with a decrease in delayed hypersensitivity reactions and lymphocyte proliferation and numeration56,57.

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