Scientific Studies


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease in which the progressive destruction of joint causes morbidity. It is also associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, which can result in cardiovascular disease and mortality. The therapeutic goal is to control the systemic inflammation to obtain not only the remission of symptoms, but also improve general state of health. Although recent biologic immunosuppressive therapies targeting pro-inflammatory cytokines have spawned a paradigm shift regarding the prognosis of RA, these therapies possess inherent side effects. Also, early diagnosis of the disease remains confounded by uncertainty. While the mechanisms responsible for the onset of RA remain unclear, reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a significant role in the pathogenesis of RA. ROS play a central role both upstream and downstream of NF-κB and TNFα pathways, which are located at the center of the inflammatory response. Among the ROS, the hydroxyl radical is the most harmful, and molecular hydrogen (H2) is a selective scavenger for this species. Recently, it has been shown that H2 is useful when administered along with the conventional therapy in RA as it acts to reduce oxidative stress in the patients. Especially in the early stage, H2 showed significant therapeutic potential, which also seemed to assist diagnosis and treatment decisions of RA. The possible expectations regarding the potential benefits of H2 by reducing the oxidative stress, resulting from inflammatory factors, are raised and discussed here. They include prevention of RA and related atherosclerosis, as well as therapeutic validity for RA


Molecular hydrogen (H2) as a new medical gas has an anti-inflammatory effect. In the present study, we investigated whether heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) contributes to the anti-inflammatory effect of H2 in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages.


RAW 264.7 macrophages were stimulated by LPS (1 μg/mL) with presence or absence of different concentrations of H2. Cell viability and injury were tested by 3-(4,5)-dimethylthiahiazo (-z-y1)-3,5-di-phenytetrazoliumromide (MTT) assay and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, respectively. The cell culture supernatants were collected to measure inflammatory cytokines [TNF-α, IL-1β, HMGB1 (high mobility group box-1) and IL-10] at different time points. Moreover, HO-1 protein expression and activity were tested at different time points. In addition, to further identify the role of HO-1 in this process, zinc protoporphyrin (ZnPP)-IX, an HO-1 inhibitor, was used.


H2 treatment had no significant influence on cell viability and injury in normally cultured RAW 264.7 macrophages. Moreover, H₂ treatment dose-dependently attenuated the increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, HMGB1), but further increased the level of anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 at 3 h, 6 h, 12 h and 24 h after LPS stimulation. Furthermore, H₂ treatment could also dose-dependently increase the HO-1 protein expression and activity at 3 h, 6 h, 12 h and 24 h in LPS-activated macrophages. In addition, blockade of HO-1 activity with ZnPP-IX partly reversed the anti-inflammatory effect of H₂ in LPS-stimulated macrophages.


Molecular hydrogen exerts a regulating role in the release of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in LPS-stimulated macrophages, and this effect is at least partly mediated by HO-1 expression and activation.


To investigate the effect of hydrogen gas inhalation on survival rate and serum high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) levels in severe septic mice.


Severe sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) operation in mice.A total of 248 mice were randomly divided into four groups: sham operation group (sham), sham operation with hydrogen gas inhalation group (sham+H2), severe CLP group (severe CLP) and severe CLP with hydrogen gas inhalation group (severe CLP+H2). Hydrogen gas inhalation was given for 1 h at 1st and 6th h after CLP or sham operation, respectively. The survival rates and serum HMGB1 levels of all groups at different time points were measured.


The 7-d survival rates of severe CLP mice was 0 % (Compared with Sham group, P ❬0.05), and the serum HMBG1 levels from h2 to h32 after CLP operation were significantly increased in severe CLP mice (Compared with Sham group, P ❬0.05). Hydrogen gas treatment increased the 7-d survival rate of severe CLP mice to 60 % (Compared with severe sepsis group, P ❬0.05) and significantly reduced the serum HMGB1 levels at different time points (Compared with severe sepsis group, P ❬0.05).


Hydrogen gas inhalation can decrease the serum HMGB1 levels and increase the survival rate of rats with severe sepsis.