Hydrogen regulates mitochondrial quality to protect glial cells and alleviates sepsis-associated encephalopathy by Nrf2/YY1 complex promoting HO-1 expression

Background: Sepsis-associated encephalopathy (SAE) is a complication of the central nervous system in patients with sepsis. Currently, no effective treatment for sepsis is available. Hydrogen plays a protective role in different diseases; however, the detailed mechanism of hydrogen-treated disease remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of hydrogen on SAE in vitro and in vivo and the mechanism of hydrogen in mitochondrial dynamics and its function in astrocytes and microglia stimulated by lipopolysaccharides (LPSs). Methods: Animal models of SAE were generated by cecal ligation and puncture, and the SAE model was established by in vitro LPS stimulation. MTT, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), reactive oxygen species (ROS), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) activity, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and cell apoptosis assays were used to determine the effect of hydrogen on astrocytes and microglia stimulated by LPSs. The relationships between nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), YY1, and HO-1 were examined by chromatin immunoprecipitation and co-immunoprecipitation. Mitochondrial homeostasis-related proteins in LPS-stimulated glial cells and brain tissues of SAE mice were detected by western blotting. The effects of hydrogen treatment in the SAE mouse model were investigated using Morris water maze and Y-maze analyses. Results: After performing experiments with different concentrations of LPSs in vitro, we selected 1000 ng/ml for subsequent experiments. Hydrogen attenuated the increase in ROS, LDH, and apoptosis and promoted decreases in cell activity and MMP, further promoting an increase in HO-1 expression induced by LPSs in astrocytes and microglia. Moreover, hydrogen further promoted the expression of Nrf2, HO-1, PGC-1α, TFAM, PARKIN, and PINK1, inhibited LPS-induced OPA1 and MFN2 expression in astrocytes and microglia, and downregulated the expression of DRP1 after LPS induction. Intriguingly, hydrogen treatment enhanced the binding between Nrf2 and YY1. However, silencing Nrf2 or YY1 abolished the protective effects of hydrogen on cell activity, LDH, ROS, and MMP; apoptosis; and regulation of Nrf2, HO-1, PGC-1α, TFAM, OPA1, DRP1, MFN2, PARKIN, and PINK1 in microglia. Finally, hydrogen treatment improved the results of behavioral detection, apoptosis, Nrf2, HO-1, PGC-1α, TFAM, OPA1, DRP1, MFN2, PARKIN, PINK1, and cytokines in SAE in vivo. Conclusions: Hydrogen improved cell injury and mitochondrial quality, which were associated with HO-1 expression promoted by the Nrf2/YY1 complex in vitro. Thus, hydrogen treatment may represent a novel therapeutic method for treating SAE.

Hydrogen alleviates mitochondrial dysfunction and organ damage via autophagy‑mediated NLRP3 inflammasome inactivation in sepsis

Sepsis is a highly heterogeneous syndrome that is caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. The disproportionate inflammatory response to invasive infection is a triggering event inducing sepsis. The activation of inflammasomes in sepsis can amplify inflammatory responses. It has been reported that damaged mitochondria contribute to NACHT, LRR and PYD domains‑containing protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome‑related sepsis. Our previous study revealed that hydrogen (H2) exerts anti‑inflammatory effects in sepsis but the detailed mechanism remains to be elucidated. In the present study, septic mice induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) and macrophages induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were used as models of sepsis in vivo and in vitro, respectively. An inducer and inhibitor of autophagy and the NLRP3 inflammasome were administered to investigate the detailed mechanism of action of H2 treatment in sepsis. The results demonstrated that LPS and ATP led to NLRP3 inflammasome pathway activation, excessive cytokine release, mitochondrial dysfunction and the activation of autophagy. CLP induced organ injury and NLRP3 pathway activation. H2 treatment ameliorated vital organ damage, the inflammatory response, mitochondrial dysfunction and NLRP3 pathway activation, and promoted autophagy in macrophages induced by LPS and in CLP mice. However, the inhibitor of autophagy and the inducer of NLRP3 reversed the protective effect of H2 against organ damage, the inflammatory response and mitochondrial dysfunction in vivo and in vitro. Collectively, the results demonstrated that H2 alleviated mitochondrial dysfunction and cytokine release via autophagy‑mediated NLRP3 inflammasome inactivation.

Hydrogen attenuates sepsis-associated encephalopathy by NRF2 mediated NLRP3 pathway inactivation

Objective Sepsis-associated encephalopathy (SAE) is a major cause of mortality worldwide. Oxidative stress, inflammatory response and apoptosis participate in the pathogenesis of SAE. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor containing pyrin domain 3 (NLRP3) pathway is involved in oxidative stress and inflammatory response. We reported that hydrogen gas protected against sepsis in wild-type (WT) but not Nrf2 knockout (KO) mice. Therefore, it is vital to identify the underlying cause of hydrogen gas treatment of sepsis-associated encephalopathy.MethodsSAE was induced in WT and Nrf2 KO mice by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). As a NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor, MCC950 (50 mg/kg) was administered by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection before operation. Hydrogen gas (H2)-rich saline solution (5 mL/kg) was administered by i.p. injection at 1 h and 6 h after sham and CLP operations. Brain tissue was collected to assess the NLRP3 and Nrf2 pathways by western blotting, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunofluorescence.ResultsSAE increased NLRP3 and Nrf2 expression in microglia. MCC950 inhibited SAE-induced NLRP3 expression, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 cytokine release, neuronal apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction. SAE increased NLRP3 and caspase-1 expression in WT mice compared to Nrf2 KO mice. Hydrogen increased Nrf2 expression and inhibited the SAE-induced expression of NLRP3, caspase-1, cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, neuronal apoptosis, and mitochondrial dysfunction in WT mice but not Nrf2 KO mice.ConclusionSAE increased NLRP3 and Nrf2 expression in microglia. Hydrogen alleviated inflammation, neuronal apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction via inhibiting Nrf2-mediated NLRP3 pathway.