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News - Health and Hydrogen
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Molecular hydrogen as an emerging therapeutic medical gas for neurodegenerative and other diseases

Effects of molecular hydrogen on various diseases have been documented for 63 disease models and human diseases in the past four and a half years. Most studies have been performed on rodents including two models of Parkinson's disease and three models of Alzheimer's disease. Prominent effects are observed especially in oxidative stress-mediated diseases including neonatal cerebral hypoxia; Parkinson's disease; ischemia/reperfusion of spinal cord, heart, lung, liver, kidney, and intestine; transplantation of lung, heart, kidney, and intestine. Six human diseases have been studied to date: diabetes mellitus type 2, metabolic syndrome, hemodialysis, inflammatory and mitochondrial myopathies, brain stem infarction, and radiation-induced adverse effects. Two enigmas, however, remain to be solved. First, no dose-response effect is observed. Rodents and humans are able to take a small amount of hydrogen by drinking hydrogen-rich water, but marked effects are observed. Second, intestinal bacteria in humans and rodents produce a large amount of hydrogen, but an addition of a small amount of hydrogen exhibits marked effects. Further studies are required to elucidate molecular bases of prominent hydrogen effects and to determine the optimal frequency, amount, and method of hydrogen administration for each human disease.

Recent advances in studies of molecular hydrogen in the treatment of pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas characterized by acinar cell injury and is associated with the abnormal release of trypsin, which results in high mortality due to systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). The inflammatory response, impaired autophagic flux, endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and their interactions are involved in the development of pancreatitis. Molecular hydrogen (H2) is a novel antioxidant that possesses the features of selective scavenging of oxygen free radicals and nontoxic metabolites and has been shown to be efficacious for treating infection, injury, tumors, ischemia-reperfusion organ injury, metabolic disease and several other diseases. Recent studies have found that H2 is also useful in the treatment of pancreatitis, which may be related to the mechanism of antioxidative stress, anti-inflammation, anti-apoptosis, regulation of immunity and regulation of molecular pathways. This review focuses on the pathogenesis of pancreatitis and the research progress and potential mechanisms of H2 against pancreatitis to provide theoretical bases for future research and clinical application of H2 therapy for pancreatitis.

Molecular Hydrogen Application in Stroke: Bench to Bedside

Stroke is a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Effective treatments are limited. Molecular hydrogen is emerging as a novel medical gas with therapeutic potential for various neurological diseases, including stroke. We reviewed the experimental and clinical findings of the effects of molecular hydrogen therapy in stroke patients and models. The underlying neuroprotective mechanisms against stroke pathology were also discussed.

Therapeutic potential of molecular hydrogen in ovarian cancer

Background: To investigate the potential effects of molecular hydrogen on ovarian cancer. Methods: The in vivo study was performed using Hs38.T xenografted BALB/c nude mice. The mean tumor volume was monitored during 6 weeks of hydrogen inhalation. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining was performed to determine the Ki67 and CD34 expression. The in vitro effects of molecular hydrogen on proliferation of Hs38.T and PA-1 were determined by Cell Counting Kit (CCK)-8 assay. Matrigel invasion assay was performed to determine the cell invasion ability. Wounding assay was employed to examine the motile nature of ovarian cancer cells. Colony formation assay was performed to investigate the effect of molecular hydrogen in tumorigenicity. To further investigate the effects of molecular hydrogen on cancer stem cells (CSCs) properties, we performed sphere-formation assays. Results: The in vivo study demonstrated that 6 weeks of hydrogen inhalation significantly inhibited tumor growth, as evidenced by decreased mean tumor volume (32.30%) and Ki67 expression (30.00%). Hydrogen treatment decreased the expression of CD34 (74.00%) demonstrating its anti-angiogenesis effects. The in vitro study showed that hydrogen treatment significantly inhibits cancer cell proliferation, invasion, migration and colony formation both in Hs38.T and PA-1 cells. An important finding in this study was that molecular hydrogen could also markedly inhibit sphere-forming ability of both PA-1 and Hs38.T cells. Conclusions: Molecular hydrogen may exert anti-tumor role in ovarian cancer through suppressing the proliferation of CSCs-like cells and angiogenesis.

Hydrogen Gas from Inflammation Treatment to Cancer Therapy

Hydrogen (H2) therapy is a highly promising strategy against several diseases due to its inherent biosafety. However, the current H2 treatment modalities rely predominantly on the systemic administration of the gas, resulting in poor targeting and utilization. Furthermore, although H2 has significant anti-tumor effects, the underlying mechanisms have not yet been elucidated. Due to their ultrasmall size, nanomaterials are highly suitable drug-delivery systems with a myriad of biomedical applications. Nanocarrier-mediated H2 delivery, as well as in situ production of H2 by nanogenerators, can significantly improve targeted accumulation of the gas and accelerate the therapeutic effects. In addition, nanomaterials can be further modified to enhance passive or active accumulation at the target site. In this Perspective, we summarize the mechanism of H2 therapy and describe possibilities for combining H2 therapy with nanomaterials. We also discuss the current challenges of H2 therapy and provide some insights into this burgeoning field.

Hydrogen Gas in Cancer Treatment

Gas signaling molecules (GSMs), composed of oxygen, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide, etc., play critical roles in regulating signal transduction and cellular homeostasis. Interestingly, through various administrations, these molecules also exhibit potential in cancer treatment. Recently, hydrogen gas (formula: H2) emerges as another GSM which possesses multiple bioactivities, including anti-inflammation, anti-reactive oxygen species, and anti-cancer. Growing evidence has shown that hydrogen gas can either alleviate the side effects caused by conventional chemotherapeutics, or suppress the growth of cancer cells and xenograft tumor, suggesting its broad potent application in clinical therapy. In the current review, we summarize these studies and discuss the underlying mechanisms. The application of hydrogen gas in cancer treatment is still in its nascent stage, further mechanistic study and the development of portable instruments are warranted.

“Real world survey” of hydrogen-controlled cancer: a follow-up report of 82 advanced cancer patients

Advanced cancer treatment is a huge challenge and new ideas and strategies are required. Hydrogen exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may be exploited to control cancer, the occurrence and progression of which is closely related to peroxidation and inflammation. We conducted a prospective follow-up study of 82 patients with stage III and IV cancer treated with hydrogen inhalation using the “real world evidence” method. After 3–46 months of follow-up, 12 patients died in stage IV. After 4 weeks of hydrogen inhalation, patients reported significant improvements in fatigue, insomnia, anorexia and pain. Furthermore, 41.5% of patients had improved physical status, with the best effect achieved in lung cancer patients and the poorest in patients with pancreatic and gynecologic cancers. Of the 58 cases with one or more abnormal tumor markers elevated, the markers were decreased at 13–45 days (median 23 days) after hydrogen inhalation in 36.2%. The greatest marker decrease was in achieved lung cancer and the lowest in pancreatic and hepatic malignancies. Of the 80 cases with tumors visible in imaging, the total disease control rate was 57.5%, with complete and partial remission appearing at 21–80 days (median 55 days) after hydrogen inhalation. The disease control rate was significantly higher in stage III patients than in stage IV patients (83.0% and 47.7%, respectively), with the lowest disease control rate in pancreatic cancer patients. No hematological toxicity was observed although minor adverse reactions that resolved spontaneously were seen in individual cases. In patients with advanced cancer, inhaled hydrogen can improve patients’ quality-of-life and control cancer progression. Hydrogen inhalation is a simple, low-cost treatment with few adverse reactions that warrants further investigation as a strategy for clinical rehabilitation of patients with advanced cancer. The study protocol received ethical approval from the Ethics Committee of Fuda Cancer Hospital of Jinan University on December 7, 2018 (approval number: Fuda20181207). Keywords: hydrogen inhalation therapy, advanced cancer, real world survey, disease control rate, physical status, tumor marker, tumor stage, life quality, clinical rehabilitation

Hydrogen gas restores exhausted CD8+ T cells in patients with advanced colorectal cancer to improve prognosis

Exhausted cluster of differentiation (CD)8+ T cells lose immunological activity due to mitochondrial dysfunction caused by peroxisome proliferator‑activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC‑1α) inactivation, resulting in a poor prognosis in patients with cancer. As hydrogen gas was recently reported to activate PGC‑1α, the present study investigated whether it restores exhausted CD8+ T cells to improve prognosis in patients with stage IV colorectal cancer. A total of 55 patients with histologically and clinically diagnosed stage IV colorectal carcinoma were enrolled between July 2014 and July 2017. The patients inhaled hydrogen gas for 3 h/day at their own homes and received chemotherapy at the Tamana Regional Health Medical Center (Tamana, Kumamoto, Japan). The CD8+ T cells were isolated from the peripheral blood and their phenotype was analyzed by flow cytometry. It was found that exhausted terminal programmed cell death 1 (PD‑1)+ CD8+ T cells in the peripheral blood are independently associated with worse progression‑free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Notably, hydrogen gas decreased the abundance of exhausted terminal PD‑1+ CD8+ T cells, increased that of active terminal PD‑1‑ CD8+ T cells, and improved PFS and OS times, suggesting that the balance between terminal PD1+ and PD1‑ CD8+ T cells is critical for cancer prognosis. Therefore, a novel system for patient classification (category 1‑4) was developed in the present study based on these two indices to assist in predicting the prognosis and therapeutic response. Collectively, the present results suggested that hydrogen gas reverses imbalances toward PD‑1+ CD8+ T cells to provide an improved prognosis.
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