Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a complex disorder caused by long-standing diabetes. Oxidative stress was considered the critical creed in this DPN pathophysiology. Hydrogen has antioxidative effects on diabetes mellitus and related complications. However, there is still no concern on the beneficial effects of hydrogen in DPN. This paper aimed to evaluate the effects of exogenous hydrogen to reduce the severity of DPN in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Compared with hydrogen-rich saline treatment, hydrogen inhalation significantly reduced blood glucose levels in diabetic rats in the 4th and 8th weeks. With regard to nerve function, hydrogen administration significantly attenuated the decrease in the velocity of motor nerve conduction in diabetic animals. In addition, hydrogen significantly attenuated oxidative stress by reducing the level of malondialdehyde, reactive oxygen species, and 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine and meaningfully enhanced the antioxidant capability by partially restoring the activities of superoxide dismutase. Further studies showed that hydrogen significantly upregulated the expression of nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 and downstream proteins such as catalase and hemeoxygenase-1 in the nerves of diabetic animals. Our paper showed that hydrogen exerts significant protective effects in DPN by downregulating oxidative stress via the pathway of nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2, which suggests its potential value in clinical applications.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most frequent adult-onset motor neuron disease, and accumulating evidence indicates that oxidative mechanisms contribute to ALS pathology, but classical antioxidants have not performed well in clinical trials. The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of treatment with hydrogen molecule on the development of disease in mutant SOD1 G93A transgenic mouse model of ALS. Treatment of mutant SOD1 G93A mice with hydrogen-rich saline (HRS, i.p.) significantly delayed disease onset and prolonged survival, and attenuated loss of motor neurons and suppressed microglial and glial activation. Treatment of mutant SOD1 G93A mice with HRS inhibited the release of mitochondrial apoptogenic factors and the subsequent activation of downstream caspase-3. Furthermore, treatment of mutant SOD1 G93A mice with HRS reduced levels of protein carbonyl and 3-nitrotyrosine, and suppressed formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), peroxynitrite, and malondialdehyde. Treatment of mutant SOD1 G93A mice with HRS preserved mitochondrial function, marked by restored activities of Complex I and IV, reduced mitochondrial ROS formation and enhanced mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate synthesis. In conclusion, hydrogen molecule may be neuroprotective against ALS, possibly through abating oxidative and nitrosative stress and preserving mitochondrial function.