Impact of hydrogen gas inhalation during therapeutic hypothermia on cerebral hemodynamics and oxygenation in the asphyxiated piglet

We previously reported the neuroprotective potential of combined hydrogen (H2) gas ventilation therapy and therapeutic hypothermia (TH) by assessing the short-term neurological outcomes and histological findings of 5-day neonatal hypoxic-ischemic (HI) encephalopathy piglets. However, the effects of H2 gas on cerebral circulation and oxygen metabolism and on prognosis were unknown. Here, we used near-infrared time-resolved spectroscopy to compare combined H2 gas ventilation and TH with TH alone. Piglets were divided into three groups: HI insult with normothermia (NT, n = 10), HI insult with hypothermia (TH, 33.5 ± 0.5 °C, n = 8), and HI insult with hypothermia plus H2 ventilation (TH + H2, 2.1-2.7%, n = 8). H2 ventilation and TH were administered and the cerebral blood volume (CBV) and cerebral hemoglobin oxygen saturation (ScO2) were recorded for 24 h after the insult. CBV was significantly higher at 24 h after the insult in the TH + H2 group than in the other groups. ScO2 was significantly lower throughout the 24 h after the insult in the TH + H2 group than in the NT group. In conclusion, combined H2 gas ventilation and TH increased CBV and decreased ScO2, which may reflect elevated cerebral blood flow to meet greater oxygen demand for the surviving neurons, compared with TH alone.