Review Articles

Molecular Hydrogen Research Review Articles

Hydrogen therapy: from mechanism to cerebral diseases
The medicinal value of hydrogen (H2) was ignored prior to research illustrating that inhalation of 2% H2 can significantly decrease the damage of cerebral ischemia/reperfusion caused by oxidative stress via selective elimination of hydroxyl freebase (OH) and peroxynitrite anion (ONOO-). Subsequently, there have been numerous experiments on H2. Most research and trials involving the mechanisms underlying H2 therapy show the effects of antioxygenation, anti-inflammation, and anti-apoptosis. Among quantities of diseases related with H2 therapy, the brain disease is a hotspot as brain tissue and cell damage are easier to be induced by oxidative stress and other stimulations. In this review, emphasis is on stroke, traumatic brain injuries, and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Taking into account the blood-brain barrier, penetrability, possible side effects, and the molecular properties of H2 within a single comprehensive review should contribute to advancing both clinical and non-clinical research and therapies. A systematic introduction of H2 therapy with regards to mechanisms and cerebral diseases both in animal and human subjects can make it easier to comprehend H2 therapy and therefore provide the basis for further clinical strategy.

The Clinical Application of Hydrogen as a Medical Treatment
In recent years, it has become evident that molecular hydrogen is a particularly effective treatment for various disease models such as ischemia-reperfusion injury; as a result, research on hydrogen has progressed rapidly. Hydrogen has been shown to be effective not only through intake as a gas, but also as a liquid medication taken orally, intravenously, or locally. Hydrogen's effectiveness is thus multifaceted. Herein we review the recent research on hydrogen-rich water, and we examine the possibilities for its clinical application. Now that hydrogen is in the limelight as a gaseous signaling molecule due to its potential ability to inhibit oxidative stress signaling, new research developments are highly anticipated.

Molecular Hydrogen as a Neuroprotective Agent
Oxidative stress and neuroinflammation cause many neurological disorders. Recently, it has been reported that molecular hydrogen (H2) functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. The routes of H2 administration in animal model and human clinical studies are roughly classified into three types, inhalation of H2 gas, drinking H2-dissolved water, and injection of H2-dissolved saline. This review discusses some of the remarkable progress that has been made in the research of H2 use for neurological disorders, such as cerebrovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and neonatal brain disorders. Although most neurological disorders are currently incurable, these studies suggest the clinical potential of H2 administration for their prevention, treatment, and mitigation. Several of the potential effectors of H2 will also be discussed, including cell signaling molecules and hormones that are responsible for preventing oxidative stress and inflammation. Nevertheless, further investigation will be required to determine the direct target molecule of H2.

Hydrogen-Rich Saline as an Innovative Therapy for Cataract: A Hypothesis
Cataract is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Increasing evidence indicates that oxidative stress is an important risk factor contributing to the development of cataract. Moreover, the enhancement of the antioxidant defense system may be beneficial to prevent or delay the cataractogenesis. The term oxidative stress has been defined as a disturbance in the equilibrium status of oxidant/antioxidant systems with progressive accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in intact cells. Superfluous ROS can damage proteins, lipids, polysaccharides, and nucleic acids within ocular tissues that are closely correlated with cataract formation. Therefore, prevention of oxidative stress damage by antioxidants might be considered as a viable means of medically offsetting the progression of this vision-impairing disease. Molecular hydrogen has recently been verified to have protective and therapeutic value as an antioxidant through its ability to selectively reduce cytotoxic ROS such as hydroxyl radical (OH). Hitherto, hydrogen has been used as a therapeutic element against multiple pathologies in both animal models and human patients. Unlike most well-known antioxidants, which are unable to successfully target organelles, hydrogen has advantageous distribution characteristics enabling it to penetrate biomembranes and diffuse into the cytosol, mitochondria, and nucleus. Consequently, we speculate that hydrogen might be an effective antioxidant to protect against lens damage, and it is important to further explore the biological mechanism underlying its potential therapeutic effects.

Hydrogen-rich saline may be an effective and specific novel treatment for osteoradionecrosis of the jaw
Hydrogen, a therapeutic medical gas, can exert antioxidant activity via selectively reducing cytotoxic reactive oxygen species such as hydroxyl radicals. Hydrogen-rich saline is an alternative form of molecular hydrogen that has been widely used in many studies, including metabolic syndrome, cerebral, hepatic, myocardial ischemia/reperfusion, and liver injuries with obstructive jaundice, with beneficial results. Osteoradionecrosis of the jaw is a serious complication following radiotherapy for head and neck cancers. It has long been known that most radiation-induced symptoms are caused by free radicals generated by radiolysis of H2O, and the hydroxyl radical is the most reactive of these. Reducing the hydroxyl radical can distinctly improve the protection of cells from radiation damage. We hypothesized that hydrogen-rich saline might be an effective and specific method of managing and preventing osteoradionecrosis of the jaw.

Beneficial biological effects and the underlying mechanisms of molecular hydrogen - comprehensive review of 321 original articles
Therapeutic effects of molecular hydrogen for a wide range of disease models and human diseases have been investigated since 2007. A total of 321 original articles have been published from 2007 to June 2015. Most studies have been conducted in Japan, China, and the USA. About three-quarters of the articles show the effects in mice and rats. The number of clinical trials is increasing every year. In most diseases, the effect of hydrogen has been reported with hydrogen water or hydrogen gas, which was followed by confirmation of the effect with hydrogen-rich saline. Hydrogen water is mostly given ad libitum. Hydrogen gas of less than 4 % is given by inhalation. The effects have been reported in essentially all organs covering 31 disease categories that can be subdivided into 166 disease models, human diseases, treatment-associated pathologies, and pathophysiological conditions of plants with a predominance of oxidative stress-mediated diseases and inflammatory diseases. Specific extinctions of hydroxyl radical and peroxynitrite were initially presented, but the radical-scavenging effect of hydrogen cannot be held solely accountable for its drastic effects. We and others have shown that the effects can be mediated by modulating activities and expressions of various molecules such as Lyn, ERK, p38, JNK, ASK1, Akt, GTP-Rac1, iNOS, Nox1, NF-κB p65, IκBα, STAT3, NFATc1, c-Fos, and ghrelin. Master regulator(s) that drive these modifications, however, remain to be elucidated and are currently being extensively investigated.

Potential ghrelin-mediated benefits and risks of hydrogen water
Molecular hydrogen (H2) can scavenge hydroxyl radical and diminish the toxicity of peroxynitrite; hence, it has interesting potential for antioxidant protection. Recently, a number of studies have explored the utility of inhaled hydrogen gas, or of hydrogen-saturated water, administered parenterally or orally, in rodent models of pathology and in clinical trials, oftentimes with very positive outcomes. The efficacy of orally ingested hydrogen-rich water (HW) has been particularly surprising, given that only transient and rather small increments in plasma hydrogen can be achieved by this method. A recent study in mice has discovered that orally administered HW provokes increased gastric production of the orexic hormone ghrelin, and that this ghrelin mediates the favorable impact of HW on a mouse model of Parkinson's disease. The possibility that most of the benefits observed with HW in experimental studies are mediated by ghrelin merits consideration. Ghrelin is well known to function as an appetite stimulant and secretagogue for growth hormone, but it influences physiological function throughout the body via interaction with the widely express GHS-R1a receptor. Rodent and, to a more limited extent, clinical studies establish that ghrelin has versatile neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing activity, favorably impacts vascular health, exerts anti-inflammatory activity useful in autoimmune disorders, and is markedly hepatoprotective. The stimulatory impact of ghrelin on GH-IGF-I activity, while potentially beneficial in sarcopenia or cachectic disorders, does raise concerns regarding the long-term impact of ghrelin up-regulation on cancer risk. The impact of ingesting HW water on ghrelin production in humans needs to be evaluated; if HW does up-regulate ghrelin in humans, it may have versatile potential for prevention and control of a number of health disorders.

Molecular hydrogen: an overview of its neurobiological effects and therapeutic potential for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia
Hydrogen gas is a bioactive molecule that has a diversity of effects, including anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties; these overlap with the process of neuroprogression in major psychiatric disorders. Specifically, both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are associated with increased oxidative and inflammatory stress. Moreover, lithium which is commonly administered for treating bipolar disorder has effects on oxidative stress and apoptotic pathways, as do valproate and some atypical antipsychotics for treating schizophrenia. Molecular hydrogen has been studied pre-clinically in animal models for the treatment of some medical conditions including hypoxia and neurodegenerative disorders, and there are intriguing clinical findings in neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, it is hypothesized that administration of hydrogen molecule may have potential as a novel therapy for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other concurrent disorders characterized by oxidative, inflammatory and apoptotic dysregulation.
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