Hydrogen attenuates postoperative pain through Trx1/ASK1/MMP9 signaling pathway

Background: Postoperative pain is a serious clinical problem with a poorly understood mechanism, and lacks effective treatment. Hydrogen (H2) can reduce neuroinflammation; therefore, we hypothesize that H2 may alleviate postoperative pain, and aimed to investigate the underlying mechanism. Methods: Mice were used to establish a postoperative pain model using plantar incision surgery. Mechanical allodynia was measured using the von Frey test. Cell signaling was assayed using gelatin zymography, western blotting, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence staining. Animals or BV-2 cells were received with/without ASK1 and Trx1 inhibitors to investigate the effects of H2 on microglia. Results: Plantar incision surgery increased MMP-9 activity and ASK1 phosphorylation in the spinal cord of mice. MMP-9 knockout and the ASK1 inhibitor, NQDI-1, attenuated postoperative pain. H2 increased the expression of Trx1 in the spinal cord and in BV-2 cells. H2 treatment mimicked NQDI1 in decreasing the phosphorylation of ASK1, p38 and JNK. It also reduced MMP-9 activity, downregulated pro-IL-1β maturation and IBA-1 expression in the spinal cord of mice, and ameliorated postoperative pain. The protective effects of H2 were abolished by the Trx1 inhibitor, PX12. In vitro, in BV-2 cells, H2 also mimicked NQDI1 in inhibiting the phosphorylation of ASK1, p38, and JNK, and also reduced MMP-9 activity and decreased IBA-1 expression induced by LPS. The Trx1 inhibitor, PX12, abolished the protective effects of H2 in BV-2 cells. Conclusions: For the first time, the results of our study confirm that H2 can be used as a therapeutic agent to alleviate postoperative pain through the Trx1/ASK1/MMP9 signaling pathway. MMP-9 and ASK1 may be the target molecules for relieving postoperative pain.

Sirt3 mediates the protective effect of hydrogen in inhibiting ROS-induced retinal senescence

Hydrogen possesses antioxidative effects and cures numerous types of ophthalmopathy, but the mechanism of hydrogen on ROS-induced retinal senescence remains elusive. In this study, retinal morphology revealed that hydrogen reduced the number and size of vitreous black deposits in Bruch’s membrane in NaIO3 mice. Hydrogen also reduced ROS levels in the retina as assessed by DHE staining. Moreover, this result was consistent with the downregulation of expression of the oxidative stress hallmark OGG1. These findings suggested that hydrogen can reduce retinal oxidative stress induced by NaIO3, and this result was further verified using the antioxidant ALCAR. Mechanistic analysis revealed that hydrogen significantly inhibited the downregulation of Sirt3 expression, and this notion was confirmed using AICAR, which restores Sirt3 expression and activity. Moreover, hydrogen reduced the expression of p53, p21 and p16 and the number of blue-green precipitations in the retinas of NaIO3 mice as assessed by SA-β-gal staining. We also found that hydrogen decreased the expression of the DNA damage-related protein ATM, cyclinD1 and NF-κB but increased the expression of the DNA repair-related protein HMGB1, suggesting that hydrogen inhibits senescence in retinas of NaIO3 mice. Additionally, OCT examination revealed that hydrogen suppressed retinal high reflex formation significantly and prevented the retina from thinning. This result was supported by ERG assays that demonstrated that hydrogen prevented the reduction in a- and b-wave amplitude induced by NaIO3 in mice. Thus, our data suggest that hydrogen may inhibit retinal senescence by suppressing the downregulation of Sirt3 expression through reduced oxidative stress reactions.

Therapeutic efficacy of hydrogen‑rich saline alone and in combination with PI3K inhibitor in non‑small cell lung cancer

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of combination therapy of LY294002, a specific inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3‑kinase (PI3K), with hydrogen‑rich saline on the proliferation and apoptosis of the non‑small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) A549 cell line and the mechanisms underpinning this. Excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) may induce DNA mutations, DNA damage, genomic instability and cell proliferation, and ROS are involved in several types of cancer, particularly lung cancer. In a previous study, hydrogen was recognized as an antioxidant in preventive and therapeutic applications. The PI3K/protein kinase B (Akt) pathway is an important signaling pathway that may activate downstream of a series of extracellular signals and impact on cellular processes including cell proliferation, apoptosis and survival. To date, the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway has been indicated as a feasible target for novel antineoplastic drugs. Different strategies combining the two treatment modalities have been used in cancer therapy in order to achieve an improved therapeutic response and longer control of tumor modalities control. The present study investigated the effect of hydrogen‑rich saline alone and in combination with the PI3K inhibitor, LY294002, on the proliferation, oxidative stress and apoptosis of NSCLC A549 cells. This combination therapy may be more effective than separate drug treatment; it decreased the malondialdehyde level and increased the superoxide dismutase activity. The combination therapy also enhanced the efficacy of anti‑proliferation and apoptosis. Similarly, the results of the present study demonstrated that administration of the two agents in combination may inhibit phospho‑Akt activity, and reduce expression of heme oxygenase‑1 and nuclear factor‑κB p65. The results further suggested that the combination therapy may reduce cell proliferation and promote cell apoptosis by downregulating Akt phosphorylation and inhibiting the PI3K pathway in NSCLC cell lines. Therefore, the present study provided evidence that combined therapy may be a novel therapeutic option for patients with NSCLC.

Hydrogen-saturated saline mediated neuroprotection through autophagy via PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in early and medium stages of rotenone-induced Parkinson’s disease rats

Some cardiovascular symptoms in the early stage of Parkinson’s disease (PD) were related to degeneration of the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) catecholaminergic neurons. To date, little is known about the effects of hydrogen water on early stage of PD. Here, protective actions of hydrogen-saturated saline (HS) on rotenone-induced PD rats, as well as its underlying mechanisms were investigated. HS was used to treat PD rats at three general stages; early, medium and late, which were represented by rotenone induced rats for 0, 7 and 14 days. HS treatment significantly alleviated the cardiovascular and motor symptoms in rotenone-induced PD rats, improved the survival number of RVLM catecholaminergic neurons and nigral dopamine neurons only in early and medium stages of PD rats. Decreased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and alpha-synuclein (α-Syn), transformation of microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3)-I/II and degradation of sequestosome 1 (p62) were detected, as well as increased expression level of autophagy related protein 5 (ATG5) and B-cell lymphoma-2 interacting protein 1 (Beclin-1) in the RVLM and substantia nigra (SN) after HS treatment in early and medium stages of PD rats. In addition, phosphorylation levels of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (Akt) and mammalian rapamycin target protein (mTOR) decreased after HS treatment in early and medium stages of PD rats. The results suggested that HS treatment exerted beneficial effects in early and medium stages before motor impairments emerged but not in the late stage of rotenone-induced PD rats. It exerted neuroprotection with RVLM catecholaminergic neurons and nigral dopamine neurons, mediated in part by decreasing levels of ROS and α-Syn through increasing autophagy machinery which were partly via inhibiting PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway.