Molecular hydrogen: prospective treatment strategy of kidney damage after cardiac surgery

Cardiac surgery-associated acute kidney injury (CS-AKI) is a common postoperative complication, mostly due increasing oxidative stress. Recently, molecular hydrogen (H2 gas), has also been applied to cardiac surgery due to its ability to reduce oxidative stress. We evaluated the potential effect of H2 application on the kidney in an in vivo model of simulated heart transplantation. Pigs underwent cardiac surgery with 3 hours while connected to extracorporeal circulation (ECC) and subsequent 60 minutes of spontaneous reperfusion of the heart. We used two experimental groups: T – pigs after transplantation, TH – pigs after transplantation treated with 4% H2 mixed with air during inhalation of anesthesia and throughout oxygenation of blood in ECC. The levels of creatinine, urea and phosphorus were measured in plasma. Renal tissue samples were analyzed by Western blot method for protein levels of Nrf2, Keap-1, and SOD1. After cardiac surgery, selected plasma biomarkers were elevated. However, H2 therapy was followed by the normalization of all these parameters. Our results suggest activation of Nrf2/Keap1 pathway as well as increased SOD1 protein expression in the group treated with H2. The administration of H2 had a protective effect on the kidneys of pigs after cardiac surgery, especially in terms of normalization of plasma biomarkers to control levels.

Regulation of microRNAs by molecular hydrogen contributes to the prevention of radiation-induced damage in the rat myocardium

microRNAs (miRNAs) constitute a large class of post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. It has been estimated that miRNAs regulate up to 30% of the protein-coding genes in humans. They are implicated in many physiological and pathological processes, including those involved in radiation-induced heart damage. Biomedical studies indicate that molecular hydrogen has potential as a radioprotective agent due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and signal-modulating effects. However, the impact of molecular hydrogen on the expression of miRNAs in the heart after irradiation has not been investigated. This study aimed to explore the involvement of miRNA-1, -15b, and -21 in the protective action of molecular hydrogen on rat myocardium damaged by irradiation. The results showed that the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) increased in the rat myocardium after irradiation. Treatment with molecular hydrogen-rich water (HRW) reduced these values to the level of non-irradiated controls. miRNA-1 is known to be involved in cardiac hypertrophy, and was significantly decreased in the rat myocardium after irradiation. Application of HRW attenuated this decrease in all evaluated time periods. miRNA-15b is considered to be anti-fibrotic, anti-hypertrophic, and anti-oxidative. Irradiation downregulated miRNA-15b, whereas administration of HRW restored these values. miRNA-21 is connected with cardiac fibrosis. We observed significant increase in miRNA-21 expression in the irradiated rat hearts. Molecular hydrogen lowered myocardial miRNA-21 levels after irradiation. This study revealed for the first time that the protective effects of molecular hydrogen on irradiation-induced heart damage may be mediated by regulating miRNA-1, -15b, and -21.