Role of NMDA Receptor in High-Pressure Neurological Syndrome and Hyperbaric Oxygen Toxicity

Alice Bliznyuk, Yoram Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Professional divers exposed to pressures greater than 11 ATA (1.1 MPa) may suffer from high-pressure neurological syndrome (HPNS). Divers who use closed-circuit breathing apparatus and patients and medical attendants undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) face the risk of CNS hyperbaric oxygen toxicity (HBOTx) at oxygen pressure above 2 ATA (0.2 MPa). Both syndromes are characterized by reversible CNS hyperexcitability, accompanied by cognitive and motor deficits, and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) plays a crucial role in provoking them. Various NMDAR subtypes respond differently under hyperbaric conditions. The augmented currents observed only in NMDAR containing GluN2A subunit increase glutamatergic synaptic activity and cause dendritic hyperexcitability and abnormal neuronal activity. Removal of the resting Zn2+ voltage-independent inhibition exerted by GluN2A present in the NMDAR is the major candidate for the mechanism underlying the increase in receptor conductance. Therefore, this process should be the main target for future research aiming at developing neuroprotection against HPNS and HBOTx.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1786
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • GluN2A
  • HBOTx
  • HPNS
  • Zn voltage-independent inhibition
  • high pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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