Hydrogen-Rich Saline-A Novel Neuroprotective Agent in a Mouse Model of Experimental Cerebral Ischemia via the ROS-NLRP3 Inflammasome Signaling Pathway In Vivo and In Vitro

Background: Our previous research revealed that inflammation plays an important role in the pathophysiology of cerebral ischemia. The function of the NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is to activate the inflammatory process. Recent findings suggest that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are essential secondary messengers that activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Hydrogen-rich saline (HS) has attracted attention for its anti-inflammatory properties. However, the protective effect and possible mechanism of HSin brain ischemia have not been well elucidated. Methods: To test the therapeutic effect of HS, we established a mouse model of distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (dMCAO) and an in vitro model of BV2 cells induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC) was used to investigate the underlying mechanisms of HS. Results: HS significantly improved neurological function, reduced infarct volume, and increased cerebral blood flow in a dMCAO mouse model. ROS, NLRP3, Caspase-1, and IL-1β expression increased after cerebral ischemia, and this was reversed by HS treatment. In BV2 cells, the application of NAC further demonstrated that HS could effectively inhibit the expression of the ROS-activated NLRP3 inflammasome. Conclusions: HS, as a novel therapeutic option, could exert protect the brain by inhibiting the activation of the ROS-NLRP3 signaling pathway after cerebral ischemia.