Hydrogen-rich water reduced oxidative stress and renal fibrosis in rats with unilateral ureteral obstruction

Background: Congenital obstructive nephropathy (CKD) is commonly implicated in the pathophysiology of chronic kidney disease occurring in the pediatric and adolescent age groups and the release of reactive oxygen species contribute to the worsening of renal fibrosis. Molecular hydrogen (H2) protects against tissue injury by reducing oxidative stress. We evaluated the efficacy of oral H2-rich water (HW) intake in preventing unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO)-induced renal injury in rats. Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley UUO or control rats were administered with distilled water (DW) or HW for 2 weeks post-surgery. Histopathological and immunohistochemical analyses of kidney samples were performed. Results: Histological changes were not apparent in the sham-operated kidneys. However, UUO kidneys were found to have widened interstitial spaces and tubular dilatation. Compared with the UUO + DW group, HW administration attenuated tubulointerstitial injury and reduced interstitial fibrotic area, causing a substantial decline in the frequency of α-SMA-, ED-1-, and TGF-β1-positive cells in the UUO + HW group. The decrease in the klotho mRNA expression in the UUO + HW group was less pronounced than that in the UUO + DW group. Conclusion: Oral HW intake reduced oxidative stress and prevented interstitial fibrosis in UUO kidneys, potentially involving klotho in the underlying mechanism. Impact: Oral intake of hydrogen-rich water (HW) can reduce oxidative stress and suppress interstitial fibrosis in unilateral ureteral obstruction-induced renal injury in rats. This mechanism possibly involves klotho, which is known for its antiaging roles. The association between molecular hydrogen and klotho in renal fibrosis is well known; this is the first report on the association in a unilateral ureteral obstruction model. Drinking HW is a safe and convenient treatment for oxidative stress-induced pathologies, without side effects. As a prospect for future research, oral HW intake to treat oxidative stress may improve renal fibrosis in congenital obstructive nephropathy.