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Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBO) promotes rapid recovery from soft tissue injuries. However, the
healing mechanism is unclear. Here we assessed the efects of HBO on contused calf muscles in a rat
skeletal muscle injury model. An experimental HBO chamber was developed and rats were treated
with 100% oxygen, 2.5 atmospheres absolute for 2h/day after injury. HBO reduced early lower limb
volume and muscle wet weight in contused muscles, and promoted muscle isometric strength 7 days
after injury. HBO suppressed the elevation of circulating macrophages in the acute phase and then
accelerated macrophage invasion into the contused muscle. This environment also increased the
number of proliferating and diferentiating satellite cells and the amount of regenerated muscle fbers.
In the early phase after injury, HBO stimulated the IL-6/STAT3 pathway in contused muscles. Our results
demonstrate that HBO has a dual role in decreasing infammation and accelerating myogenesis in
muscle contusion injuries.