Background: Postoperative pain is a serious clinical problem with a poorly understood mechanism, and lacks effective treatment. Hydrogen (H2) can reduce neuroinflammation; therefore, we hypothesize that H2 may alleviate postoperative pain, and aimed to investigate the underlying mechanism. Methods: Mice were used to establish a postoperative pain model using plantar incision surgery. Mechanical allodynia was measured using the von Frey test. Cell signaling was assayed using gelatin zymography, western blotting, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence staining. Animals or BV-2 cells were received with/without ASK1 and Trx1 inhibitors to investigate the effects of H2 on microglia. Results: Plantar incision surgery increased MMP-9 activity and ASK1 phosphorylation in the spinal cord of mice. MMP-9 knockout and the ASK1 inhibitor, NQDI-1, attenuated postoperative pain. H2 increased the expression of Trx1 in the spinal cord and in BV-2 cells. H2 treatment mimicked NQDI1 in decreasing the phosphorylation of ASK1, p38 and JNK. It also reduced MMP-9 activity, downregulated pro-IL-1β maturation and IBA-1 expression in the spinal cord of mice, and ameliorated postoperative pain. The protective effects of H2 were abolished by the Trx1 inhibitor, PX12. In vitro, in BV-2 cells, H2 also mimicked NQDI1 in inhibiting the phosphorylation of ASK1, p38, and JNK, and also reduced MMP-9 activity and decreased IBA-1 expression induced by LPS. The Trx1 inhibitor, PX12, abolished the protective effects of H2 in BV-2 cells. Conclusions: For the first time, the results of our study confirm that H2 can be used as a therapeutic agent to alleviate postoperative pain through the Trx1/ASK1/MMP9 signaling pathway. MMP-9 and ASK1 may be the target molecules for relieving postoperative pain.
Endotoxin-induced lung injury is one of the major causes of death induced by endotoxemia, however, few effective therapeutic options exist. Hydrogen inhalation has recently been shown to be an effective treatment for inflammatory lung injury, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. In the current study we aim to investigate how hydrogen attenuates endotoxin-induced lung injury and provide reference values for the clinical application of hydrogen. LPS was used to establish an endotoxin-induced lung injury mouse model. The survival rate and pulmonary pathologic changes were evaluated. THP-1 and HUVECC cells were cultured in vitro. The thioredoxin 1 (Trx1) inhibitor was used to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of hydrogen. Hydrogen significantly improved the survival rate of mice, reduced pulmonary edema and hemorrhage, infiltration of neutrophils, and IL-6 secretion. Inhalation of hydrogen decreased tissue factor (TF) expression and MMP-9 activity, while Trx1 expression was increased in the lungs and serum of endotoxemia mice. LPS-stimulated THP-1 and HUVEC-C cells in vitro and showed that hydrogen decreases TF expression and MMP-9 activity, which were abolished by the Trx1 inhibitor, PX12. Hydrogen attenuates endotoxin-induced lung injury by decreasing TF expression and MMP-9 activity via activating Trx1. Targeting Trx1 by hydrogen may be a potential treatment for endotoxin-induced lung injury.