Hydrogen is a kind of noble gas with the character to selectively neutralize reactive oxygen species. Former researches proved that low-concentration of hydrogen can be used to ameliorating cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury. Hydrogen electrolyzed from water has a hydrogen concentration of 66.7%, which is much higher than that used in previous studies. And water electrolysis is a potential new hydrogen resource for regular clinical use. This study was designed and carried out for the determination of safety and neuroprotective effects of water electrolysis-derived hydrogen. Sprague–Dawley rats were used as experimental animals, and middle cerebral artery occlusion was used to make cerebral ischemia/reperfusion model. Pathologically, tissues from rats in hydrogen inhalation group showed no significant difference compared with the control group in HE staining pictures. The blood biochemical findings matched the HE staining result. TTC, Nissl, and TUNEL staining showed the significant improvement of infarction volume, neuron morphology, and neuron apoptosis in rat with hydrogen treatment. Biochemically, hydrogen inhalation decreased brain caspase-3, 3-nitrotyrosine and 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine-positive cells and inflammation factors concentration. Water electrolysis-derived hydrogen inhalation had neuroprotective effects on cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats with the effect of suppressing oxidative stress and inflammation, and it is a possible new hydrogen resource to electrolyze water at the bedside clinically.
Background/aims: Hydrogen selectively neutralizes reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ameliorates various ROS-induced injuries. Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a serious injury to the central nervous system, and secondary SCI is closely related to excessive ROS generation. We hypothesized that hydrogen inhalation ameliorates SCI, and the mechanism of action may be related to the protective effects of hydrogen against oxidative stress, apoptosis, and mitochondrial damage. Methods: Mechanically injured spinal cord neurons were incubated with different concentrations of hydrogen in vitro. Immunofluorescence staining and transmission electron microscopy were used to confirm the protective effects of hydrogen. ROS and related proteins were detected with dihydroethidium fluorescence staining, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and western blotting. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling assays, flow cytometry, and western blotting were used to detect neuronal apoptosis. ATP concentrations, Janus Green B staining, and mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) status were assessed to investigate mitochondrial damage. RNA sequencing was performed to screen potential target genes of hydrogen application. Hydrogen was administered to mice after spinal cord contusion injury was established for 42 days. The Basso Mouse Scale (BMS) and footprint analyses were used to assess locomotor functions, and immunofluorescence staining of the injured spinal cord segments was performed to detect oxidative stress status. Results: Spinal cord neurons were preserved by hydrogen administration after mechanical injury in a dose-dependent manner. ROS generation, oxidative stress injury-related markers, and the number of apoptotic neurons were significantly reduced after hydrogen treatment. The ATP production and mPTP function in injured neurons were preserved by hydrogen incubation. The expression levels of Cox8b, Cox6a2, Cox7a1, Hspb7, and Atp2a1 were inhibited by hydrogen treatment. BMS scores and the footprint assessment of mice with SCI were improved by hydrogen inhalation. Conclusions: Hydrogen inhalation (75%) ameliorated SCI in vivo and attenuated neuronal mechanical injuries in vitro, and its protective effect on spinal cord neurons was exerted in a dose-dependent manner. The underlying mechanisms included reducing ROS generation and oxidative stress, inhibiting neuronal apoptosis, and restoring mitochondrial construction and function. Cox8b, Cox6a2, Cox7a1, Hspb7, and Atp2a1 were identified as potential target genes of hydrogen treatment.