1. Department of Neurology, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
2. Beijing Key Laboratory of Hypoxic Conditioning Translational Medicine, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
3. Emergency Department, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
4. Department of Neurosurgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
5. Department of Neurosurgery, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
Severe hypoxia can induce a range of systemic disorders; however, surprising resilience can be obtained through sublethal adaptation to hypoxia, a process termed as hypoxic conditioning. A particular form of this strategy, known as intermittent hypoxia conditioning hormesis, alternates exposure to hypoxic and normoxic conditions, facilitating adaptation to reduced oxygen availability. This technique, originally employed in sports and high-altitude medicine, has shown promise in multiple pathologies when applied with calibrated mild to moderate hypoxia and appropriate hypoxic cycles.
Recent studies have extensively investigated the protective role of intermittent hypoxia conditioning and its underlying mechanisms using animal models, demonstrating its potential in organ protection. This involves a range of processes such as reduction of oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis, along with enhancement of hypoxic gene expression, among others.
Given that intermittent hypoxia conditioning fosters beneficial physiological responses across multiple organs and systems, this review presents a comprehensive analysis of existing studies on intermittent hypoxia and its potential advantages in various organs. It aims to draw attention to the possibility of clinically applying intermittent hypoxia conditioning as a multi-organ protective strategy. This review comprehensively discusses the protective effects of intermittent hypoxia across multiple systems, outlines potential procedures for implementing intermittent hypoxia, and provides a brief overview of the potential protective mechanisms of intermittent hypoxia.
Keywords: Intermittent hypoxia, hypoxia conditioning, organ protection, clinical application.