Hydrogen as a Selective Antioxidant: a Review

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The Journal of International Medical Research 2010; 38: 1893 – 1903 Hydrogen as a Selective Antioxidant: a Review of Clinical and Experimental Studies Y HONG*, S CHEN* AND J-M ZHANG Department of Neurosurgery, Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine and Institute of Brain Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases; however, currently used antioxidants have a high toxicity that constrains administration to a narrow window of therapeutic dosage. There is a clear need for more effective and safer antioxidants. Diatomic hydrogen (H2) was proposed as a novel antioxidant that selectively reduces levels of toxic reactive-oxygen species. Recently, many studies have reported that H2 (inhaled or orally ingested, typically as approximately 0.8 mM H2-saturated water), can exert beneficial effects in diverse animal models of ischaemia–reperfusion injury, and inflammatory and neurological disease. In the clinic, oral administration of H2- saturated water is reported to improve lipid and glucose metabolism in subjects with diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance; promising results have also been obtained in reducing inflammation in haemodialysis patients and treating metabolic syndrome. These studies suggest H2 has selective antioxidant properties, and can exert antiapoptotic, anti- inflammatory and antiallergy effects. This review summarizes recent research findings and mechanisms concerning the therapeutic potential of H2. KEY WORDS: OXIDATIVE STRESS; ANTIOXIDANT; HYDROGEN; HYDROGEN-SATURATED WATER Introduction Oxidative stress is a feature of many conditions including ischaemia–reperfusion (I/R) injury, inflammatory disorders, cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, and ageing.1 Oxidative stress is generally associated with the production of highly reactive free radicals including reactive oxygen species (ROS). The mitochondrion is the primary source of ROS, and much research has focused on the identification of *Y Hong and S Chen contributed equally to this work. naturally occurring low-toxicity antioxidants that can target mitochondrial ROS. Although a relatively unexplored field of medicine, increasing attention is now being paid to the potential use of medicinal gases as therapeutic agents.2,3 This article reviews recent work, in pre-clinical models and clinical trials, on the use of diatomic hydrogen (H2) – a naturally occurring biomolecule – as a selective antioxidant. Oxidative stress Free radicals are atoms, molecules or ions 1893

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