Molecular hydrogen and radiation protection

Free Radic Res. 2012 Sep;46(9):1061-7. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2012.689429. Epub 2012 May 18.


Molecular hydrogen (dihydrogen, H(2)) acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing hydroxyl radicals (•OH) and peroxynitrite (ONOO-). It has been well-known that ionising radiation (IR) causes oxidative damage and consequent apoptosis mainly due to the production of •OH that follows radiolysis of H(2)O. Our department reported the protective effect of H(2) in irradiated cells and mice for the first time, and this effect is well repeated by us and another laboratory in different experimental animal models. A randomised, placebo-controlled investigation also showed consumption of H(2) can improve the quality of life of patients treated with radiotherapy for liver tumours. These encouraging results suggested that H(2) has a potential as a radioprotective agent with efficacy and non-toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen / pharmacology
  • Hydrogen / therapeutic use*
  • Hydroxyl Radical / chemistry*
  • Liver Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Liver Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Peroxynitrous Acid / chemistry*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / chemistry*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Peroxynitrous Acid
  • Hydroxyl Radical
  • Hydrogen