Spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are a large and diverse group of autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative diseases. No drugs have been approved for these relentlessly progressive and fatal SCAs. Our previous studies indicate that oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and neuronal apoptosis are elevated in the SCA17 mice, which are the main therapeutic targets of hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT). HBOT is considered to be an alternative and less invasive therapy for SCAs. In this study, we evaluated the HBOT (2.2 ATA for 14 days) effect and the persistence for the management of SCA17 mice and their wild-type littermates. We found HBOT attenuated the motor coordination and cognitive impairment of SCA17 mice and which persisted for about 1 month after the treatment. The results of several biochemistry and liver/kidney hematoxylin and eosin staining show the HBOT condition has no obvious toxicity in the mice. Immunostaining analyses show that the neuroprotective effect of HBOT could be through the promotion of BDNF production and the amelioration of neuroinflammation. Surprisingly, HBOT executes different effects on the male and female SCA17 mice, including the reduction of neuroinflammation and activation of CaMKII and ERK. This study suggests HBOT is a potential alternative therapeutic treatment for SCA17. Accumulated findings have revealed the similarity in disease pathomechanisms and possible therapeutic strategies in polyQ diseases; therefore, HBOT could be an optional treatment as well as the other polyQ diseases.
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