Repeated episodes of transient reduction of oxygen exposure simulating aircraft cabin conditions enhance resilience to stress in mice

Roxana Paula Ginerete, Giada Mascio, Francesca Liberatore, Domenico Bucci, Nico Antenucci, Paola Di Pietro, Milena Cannella, Tiziana Imbriglio, Serena Notartomaso, Ferdinando Nicoletti, Valeria Bruno, Giuseppe Battaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pilots and crew of domestic flights are exposed to transient periods of mild reductions of partial pressure of inspired oxygen each day, and this might have functional consequence on their performance in the long range. Here, we exposed mice to mild reductions of oxygen exposure (ROE) four times per day for 21 days by lowering oxygen partial pressure to levels corresponding to an altitude of about 2300 m, which is the quote of pressurization of the air cabin. Four groups of mice were studied: unstressed or stressed mice exposed to ROE or normoxic conditions. Mice were exposed to chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) for 28 days, and ROE was delivered in the last 21 days of CUS. In normoxic mice, CUS caused anhedonia in the sucrose preference test, anxiety-like behaviour in the open field test, learning impairment in the Morris water maze, reduced hippocampal neurogenesis, increased serum corticosterone levels and increased expression of depression-related genes (Pclo, Mthfr and Grm5) in the hippocampus. All these changes were reversed by ROE, which had little or no effect in unstressed mice. These findings suggest that ROE simulating air cabin conditions of domestic flights may enhance resilience to stress improving mood, anxiety and learning ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7109-7124
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume54
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Aircraft
  • Animals
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hippocampus
  • Mice
  • Oxygen
  • Partial Pressure
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Stress, Psychological/psychology

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