Therapeutic effects of hydrogen on chronic graft-versus-host disease

The incidence of chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is rising recent years, which has been the leading cause of non-transplantation mortality post allogenetic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Imbalance of inflammatory cytokines and fibrosis plays critical roles in the pathogenesis of cGVHD. Recent studies showed that molecular hydrogen has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fibrosis effects. Therefore, we hypothesized that molecular hydrogen may have therapeutic effects on cGVHD. To determine whether hydrogen could protect mice from cGVHD in an MHC-incompatible murine bone marrow transplantation (BMT) model, survival rates of mice were calculated, and skin lesions were also evaluated after BMT. This article demonstrated that administration of hydrogen-rich saline increased survival rate of cGVHD mice. Administration of hydrogen-rich saline after transplantation also reduced skin lesions of cGVHD mice. Previously, we reported the therapeutic effects of hydrogen on acute GVHD. However, there was no report on the therapeutic effects of hydrogen on cGVHD mice. It is suggested that hydrogen has a potential as an effective and safe therapeutic agent on cGVHD. This study will provide new ideas on the treatment of cGVHD and has important theoretical values.

Hydrogen in Patients With Corticosteroid-Refractory/Dependent Chronic Graft-Versus-Host-Disease: A Single-Arm, Multicenter, Open-Label, Phase 2 Trial

Chronic graft-versus-host-disease (cGVHD) is the leading cause of late non-relapse mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation(HSCT). There is no standard therapy for patients refractory or dependent to corticosteroid treatment. We hypothesized that hydrogen may exert therapeutic effects on cGVHD patients with few side effects. A prospective open-label phase 2 study of hydrogen was conducted. Patients received hydrogen-rich water 4ml/kg orally three times a day. Responses were graded in the skin, mouth, Gastrointestinal(GI), liver, eyes, lungs and joints and fascia every 3 months. A total of 24 patients (median age 27) were enrolled. Of the 24 patients, 18 (75%; 95% CI, 55.1% to 88%) had an objective response. No significant toxicity was observed. The estimated 4-year overall survival rate was 74.7%(95% CI, 54.9%-94.5%). The survival time was significantly prolonged in the response group. The survival rate at 4 years in the response group is significantly higher than the nonresponse group (86.6% vs 0%; p= 0.000132). Hydrogen showed great efficacy on cGVHD patients and long-term administration of hydrogen was not associated with significant toxic effects. The trial was registered at www.ClinicalTrials.Gov, NCT02918188.