Intermittent Hypoxic Preconditioning: A Potential New Powerful Strategy for COVID-19 Rehabilitation

Ming Cai, Xuan Chen, Jieling Shan, Ruoyu Yang, Qi Guo, Xia Bi, Ping Xu, Xiangrong Shi, Lixi Chu, Liyan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory virus, which can proliferate by invading the ACE2 receptor of host cells. Clinical studies have found that the virus can cause dyspnea, pneumonia and other cardiopulmonary system damage. In severe cases, it can lead to respiratory failure and even death. Although there are currently no effective drugs or vaccines for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, the patient’s prognosis recovery can be effectively improved by ameliorating the dysfunction of the respiratory system, cardiovascular systems, and immune function. Intermittent hypoxic preconditioning (IHP) as a new non-drug treatment has been applied in the clinical and rehabilitative practice for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, and other diseases. Many clinical studies have confirmed that IHP can improve the cardiopulmonary function of patients and increase the cardiorespiratory fitness and the tolerance of tissues and organs to ischemia. This article introduces the physiological and biochemical functions of IHP and proposes the potential application plan of IHP for the rehabilitation of patients with COVID-19, so as to provide a better prognosis for patients and speed up the recovery of the disease. The aim of this narrative review is to propose possible causes and pathophysiology of COVID-19 based on the mechanisms of the oxidative stress, inflammation, and immune response, and to provide a new, safe and efficacious strategy for the better rehabilitation from COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number643619
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • COVID-19
  • HIF-1α
  • immune response
  • inflammatory cytokine storm
  • intermittent hypoxic preconditioning
  • rehabilitation


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