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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 98-102

Emerging mechanisms and novel applications of hydrogen gas therapy

1 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA
2 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology; Department of Anesthesiology; Department of Neurosurgery, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA

Correspondence Address:
John H Zhang
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology; Department of Anesthesiology; Department of Neurosurgery, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
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Source of Support: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant (NS081740 to JHZ)., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2045-9912.239959

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Clinical and pre-clinical studies have reported a broad range of applications for hydrogen gas therapy. Classically, conventional antioxidant therapy is limited because it neutralizes both the detrimental and protective effects of reactive oxygen species. As a weak reducing agent, hydrogen gas avoids this paradox by reacting with strong oxidants while leaving other beneficial oxidants reactive. This review gathers a promising list of hydrogen gas applications that merit further mechanistic investigation and additional therapeutic trials. Reports support the ability of hydrogen gas to downregulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and pro-apoptotic factors. Mechanistically, hydrogen gas has been shown to downregulate miR-9 and miR-21, while upregulating miR-199 to reduce inflammatory injury. In angiogenic pathways, hydrogen’s inhibition of cyclic guanosine monophosphate-degrading phosphodiesterase led to higher levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate, activation of protein kinase, and angiogenesis; next, as hydrogen gas increased the levels of intracellular calcium, stimulated vascular endothelial growth factor increased nitric oxide production. In conjunction, hydrogen gas opened adenosine triphosphate-sensitive potassium channel channels, which activate downstream mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways. Growing molecular mechanisms have discovered a plethora of downstream targets for hydrogen gas therapy that include autophagy (via the adenosine 5’-monophosphate-activated protein kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway), histone modification, mitochondrial unfolded protein response, acute oxidative stress after exercise, and oxidative stress secondary to aging. In conclusion, evolving research has discovered novel molecular connections that will continue to widen applications for hydrogen therapy.

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