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. 2012 Apr 4;2:8.
doi: 10.1186/2045-9912-2-8.

A Hypothesis on Biological Protection From Space Radiation Through the Use of New Therapeutic Gases as Medical Counter Measures

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Free PMC article

A Hypothesis on Biological Protection From Space Radiation Through the Use of New Therapeutic Gases as Medical Counter Measures

Michael P Schoenfeld et al. Med Gas Res. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Radiation exposure to astronauts could be a significant obstacle for long duration manned space exploration because of current uncertainties regarding the extent of biological effects. Furthermore, concepts for protective shielding also pose a technically challenging issue due to the nature of cosmic radiation and current mass and power constraints with modern exploration technology. The concern regarding exposure to cosmic radiation is biological damage that is associated with increased oxidative stress. It is therefore important and would be enabling to mitigate and/or prevent oxidative stress prior to the development of clinical symptoms and disease. This paper hypothesizes a "systems biology" approach in which a combination of chemical and biological mitigation techniques are used conjunctively. It proposes using new, therapeutic, medical gases as chemical radioprotectors for radical scavenging and as biological signaling molecules for management of the body's response to exposure. From reviewing radiochemistry of water, biological effects of CO, H2, NO, and H2S gas, and mechanisms of radiation biology, it can be concluded that this approach may have therapeutic potential for radiation exposure. Furthermore, it also appears to have similar potential for curtailing the pathogenesis of other diseases in which oxidative stress has been implicated including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic inflammatory disease, hypertension, ischemia/reperfusion (IR) injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and aging. We envision applying these therapies through inhalation of gas mixtures or ingestion of water with dissolved gases.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
The effect on OCP of the solution from H2 gas bubbled into it and the addition of 0.1 M H2O2 as measured by Tungsten/Tungsten-Oxide (ref. electrode) and Platinum electrodes (vs. saturated calomel electrode SCE) [22].
Figure 2
Figure 2
(A)-(D)[25]reflect water decomposition by the concentration of radiolysis byproducts. (B) is an extension of (A) and is air free pure water. Decomposition ensues until H2 in excess of ROS. (C) is effect of dissolved O2 in excess of H2 to promote decomposition. (D) is effect of dissolved hydrogen in excess of O2 to scavenge. (E) [24] Shows effect of O2 as a biological radiosensitizer. N2 is also shown which raises the question of what the effect of H2 would be.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Relative contribution of the water decomposition process is associated with boric acid concentration measured in milli-molar on the abscissa. System scavenging capacity or relative contribution of the water reformation process is associated with the initial amount of dissolved H2 measured in micro-molar concentrations (each curve). Manifestation of negative systematic effects is reflected by the amount of water decomposition from radiolysis as reflected by H2 gas generation rates measured in micro-molar concentrations per minute on the ordinate. Figure illustrates that the addition of dissolved H2 increases the scavenging capacity of the water therefore increasing the threshold and delaying the onset of when decomposition becomes the dominant process [26].
Figure 4
Figure 4
Images compare treated and untreated hind limbs 8 weeks after an exposure of 25 Gy showing that signs of fibrotic contractures occurred only in the untreated limb[49].
Figure 5
Figure 5
Extent of gross structural damage to heart graft was evaluated by TTC staining 3 hr after reperfusion. H2 and CO inhalation reduced ischemic area following heart grafts but with only slight significance. Significant reduction is seen by dual treatment [23].

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