Immersing lungs in hydrogen-rich saline attenuates lung ischaemia-reperfusion injury

Objectives: Anti-oxidant effects of hydrogen have been reported in studies examining ischaemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of immersing lungs in hydrogen-rich saline on lung IRI. Methods: Lewis rats were divided into three groups: (i) sham, (ii) normal saline and (iii) hydrogen-rich saline. In the first experiment, the left thoracic cavity was filled with either normal saline or hydrogen-rich saline for 1 h. Then, we measured the hydrogen concentration in the left lung using a sensor gas chromatograph ( N = 3 per group). In the second experiment, lung IRI was induced by occlusion of the left pulmonary hilum for 1 h, followed by reperfusion for 3 h. During the ischaemic period, the left thoracic cavity was filled with either normal saline or hydrogen-rich saline. After reperfusion, we assessed lung function, histological changes and cytokine production ( N = 5-7 per group). Results: Immersing lungs in hydrogen-rich saline resulted in an elevated hydrogen concentration in the lung (6.9 ± 2.9 μmol/1 g lung). After IRI, pulmonary function (pulmonary compliance and oxygenation levels) was significantly higher in the hydrogen-rich saline group than in the normal saline group ( P < 0.05). Similarly, pro-inflammatory cytokine levels (interleukin-1β and interleukin-6) in the left lung were significantly lower in the hydrogen-rich saline group than in the normal saline group ( P < 0.05). Conclusions: Immersing lungs in hydrogen-rich saline delivered hydrogen into the lung and consequently attenuated lung IRI. Hydrogen-rich solution appears to be a promising approach to managing lung IRI.