Protective effects of hydrogen-rich saline in a rat model of traumatic brain injury via reducing oxidative stress

J Surg Res. 2012 Nov;178(1):e9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2011.12.038. Epub 2012 Mar 22.


Background: Hydrogen gas (H(2)) has been considered as a novel antioxidant to selectively reduce the toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydroxyl radical (•OH) without affecting the other signal ROS. Our recent study shows that H(2) inhalation is beneficial to traumatic brain injury (TBI) via reducing oxidative stress. In contrast to H(2), hydrogen-rich saline (HS) may be more suitable for clinical application. The present study was designed to investigate whether HS has a protective effect against TBI via reducing oxidative stress in rats.

Methods: TBI model was induced by controlled cortical impact injury. Different dosages of HS were intraperitoneally administered at 5 min after TBI operation. We then measured the brain edema, blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown, neurological dysfunction and injury volume in all animals. In addition, the oxidative products and antioxidant enzymes in brain tissues were detected.

Results: TBI-challenged rats exhibited significant brain injuries characterized by the increase of BBB permeability, brain edema, and lesion volume as well as neurological dysfunction, which were dose-dependently ameliorated by HS treatment. Moreover, we found that HS treatment increased the endogenous antioxidant enzymatic activities and decreased the oxidative product levels in brain tissues of TBI-challenged rats.

Conclusion: Hydrogen-rich saline can exert a protective effect against TBI via reducing oxidative stress. Molecular hydrogen may be a more effective therapeutic strategy for TBI patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain Edema / drug therapy
  • Brain Edema / metabolism
  • Brain Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hydrogen / administration & dosage*
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage*


  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Hydrogen