ObjectivesWe designed studies to test the hypotheses that hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy should protect liver against subsequent ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury are scarce and controversial. The purpose of this study was to clarify some questions about the association of HBO with the processes of liver I/R. MethodsWe divided Wistar rats into 5 groups: (1) SHAM operation, (2) I/R, rats submitted to total pedicle ischemia for 30 minutes followed by 5 minutes of reperfusion; (3) HBO60I/R and (4) HBO120I/R, rats respectively submitted to 60 and 120 minutes of HBO therapy at 2 absolute atmospheres and immediately after submitted to the experimental protocol of I/R; (5) HBO120, rats submitted to 120 minutes of HBO therapy at 2 absolute atmospheres and then immediately after humanely killed. The experimental protocol included (1) serum levels of aspartate and alanine aminotransferase; (2) mitochondrial function; (3) tissue malondialdehyde (MDA); and (4) plasma nitrite/nitrate. Data were analyzed using the Mann–Whitney test and were considered significant P < 5%. ResultsThe processes of liver ischemia/reperfusion caused tissue injury with hepatic mitochondrial functional impairment. A single exposure to 120 minutes of HBO caused an increase of tissue MDA. The time of HBO exposure as preconditioning before hepatic I/R is critical in the prevalence of beneficial or deleterious effects. Sixty minutes of hyperoxic preconditioning before liver I/R presents systemic benefits, but no significant tissue preservation. One hundred twenty minutes of hyperoxic preconditioning tissue liver benefits predominate compared with systemic benefits. ConclusionsThe HBO preconditioning therapeutic benefits to liver I/R injury are time dependent, suggesting a therapeutic window that needs to be clearly defined in future studies.