The effects of inhaling hydrogen gas on macrophage polarization, fibrosis, and lung function in mice with bleomycin-induced lung injury

Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is caused by acute lung injury, is a destructive respiratory disorder caused by a systemic inflammatory response. Persistent inflammation results in irreversible alveolar fibrosis. Because hydrogen gas possesses anti-inflammatory properties, we hypothesized that daily repeated inhalation of hydrogen gas could suppress persistent lung inflammation by inducing functional changes in macrophages, and consequently inhibit lung fibrosis during late-phase lung injury. Methods: To test this hypothesis, lung injury was induced in mice by intratracheal administration of bleomycin (1.0 mg/kg). Mice were exposed to control gas (air) or hydrogen (3.2% in air) for 6 h every day for 7 or 21 days. Respiratory physiology, tissue pathology, markers of inflammation, and macrophage phenotypes were examined. Results: Mice with bleomycin-induced lung injury that received daily hydrogen therapy for 21 days (BH group) exhibited higher static compliance (0.056 mL/cmH2O, 95% CI 0.047-0.064) than mice with bleomycin-induced lung injury exposed only to air (BA group; 0.042 mL/cmH2O, 95% CI 0.031-0.053, p = 0.02) and lower static elastance (BH 18.8 cmH2O/mL, [95% CI 15.4-22.2] vs. BA 26.7 cmH2O/mL [95% CI 19.6-33.8], p = 0.02). When the mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were examined 7 days after bleomycin administration, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-4 and IL-13 were significantly lower in the BH group than in the BA group. There were significantly fewer M2-biased macrophages in the alveolar interstitium of the BH group than in the BA group (3.1% [95% CI 1.6-4.5%] vs. 1.1% [95% CI 0.3-1.8%], p = 0.008). Conclusions: The results suggest that hydrogen inhalation inhibits the deterioration of respiratory physiological function and alveolar fibrosis in this model of lung injury.

Hydrogen therapy attenuates irradiation-induced lung damage by reducing oxidative stress

Molecular hydrogen (H(2)) is an efficient antioxidant that diffuses rapidly across cell membranes, reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite, and suppresses oxidative stress-induced injury in several organs. ROS have been implicated in radiation-induced damage to lungs. Because prompt elimination of irradiation-induced ROS should protect lung tissue from damaging effects of irradiation, we investigated the possibility that H(2) could serve as a radioprotector in the lung. Cells of the human lung epithelial cell line A549 received 10 Gy irradiation with or without H(2) treatment via H(2)-rich PBS or medium. We studied the possible radioprotective effects of H(2) by analyzing ROS and cell damage. Also, C57BL/6J female mice received 15 Gy irradiation to the thorax. Treatment groups inhaled 3% H(2) gas and drank H(2)-enriched water. We evaluated acute and late-irradiation lung damage after H(2) treatment. H(2) reduced the amount of irradiation-induced ROS in A549 cells, as shown by electron spin resonance and fluorescent indicator signals. H(2) also reduced cell damage, measured as levels of oxidative stress and apoptotic markers, and improved cell viability. Within 1 wk after whole thorax irradiation, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting showed that H(2) treatment reduced oxidative stress and apoptosis, measures of acute damage, in the lungs of mice. At 5 mo after irradiation, chest computed tomography, Ashcroft scores, and type III collagen deposition demonstrated that H(2) treatment reduced lung fibrosis (late damage). This study thus demonstrated that H(2) treatment is valuable for protection against irradiation lung damage with no known toxicity.

Effect of H 2 treatment in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis-associated interstitial lung disease

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-associated interstitial lung disease (ILD), a primary cause of mortality in patients with RA, has limited treatment options. A previously established RA model in D1CC transgenic mice aberrantly expressed major histocompatibility complex class II genes in joints, developing collagen II-induced polyarthritis and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies and interstitial pneumonitis, similar to those in humans. Molecular hydrogen (H2 ) is an efficient antioxidant that permeates cell membranes and alleviates the reactive oxygen species-induced injury implicated in RA pathogenesis. We used D1CC mice to analyse chronic lung fibrosis development and evaluate H2 treatment effects. We injected D1CC mice with type II collagen and supplied them with H2 -rich or control water until analysis. Increased serum surfactant protein D values and lung densities images were observed 10 months after injection. Inflammation was patchy within the perilymphatic stromal area, with increased 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine-positive cell numbers and tumour necrosis factor-α, BAX, transforming growth factor-β, interleukin-6 and soluble collagen levels in the lungs. Inflammatory and fibrotic changes developed diffusely within the perilymphatic stromal area, as observed in humans. H2 treatment decreased these effects in the lungs. Thus, this model is valuable for studying the effects of H2 treatment and chronic interstitial pneumonia pathophysiology in humans. H2 appears to protect against RA-ILD by alleviating oxidative stress.

Molecular hydrogen attenuates gefitinib-induced exacerbation of naphthalene-evoked acute lung injury through a reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation

Although inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mediated cell signaling by the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib is highly effective against advanced non-small cell lung cancer, this drug might promote severe acute interstitial pneumonia. We previously reported that molecular hydrogen (H2) acts as a therapeutic and preventive anti-oxidant. Here, we show that treatment with H2 effectively protects the lungs of mice from severe damage caused by oral administration of gefitinib after intraperitoneal injection of naphthalene, the toxicity of which is related to oxidative stress. Drinking H2-rich water ad libitum mitigated naphthalene/gefitinib-induced weight loss and significantly improved survival, which was associated with a decrease in lung inflammation and inflammatory cytokines in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Naphthalene decreased glutathione in the lung, increased malondialdehyde in the plasma, and increased 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal production in airway cells, all of which were mitigated by H2-rich water, indicating that the H2-rich water reverses cellular damage to the bronchial wall caused by oxidative stress. Finally, treatment with H2 did not interfere with the anti-tumor effects of gefitinib on a lung cancer cell line in vitro or on tumor-bearing mice in vivo. These results indicate that H2-rich water has the potential to improve quality of life during gefitinib therapy by mitigating lung injury without impairing anti-tumor activity.