Background: We previously demonstrated that donor treatment with inhaled hydrogen protects lung grafts from cold ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury during lung transplantation. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying hydrogen's protective effects, we conducted a gene array analysis to identify changes in gene expression associated with hydrogen treatment.
Methods: Donor rats were exposed to mechanical ventilation with 98% oxygen and 2% nitrogen or 2% hydrogen for 3 h before harvest; lung grafts were stored for 4h in cold Perfadex. Affymetrix gene array analysis of mRNA transcripts was performed on the lung tissue prior to implantation.
Results: Pretreatment of donor lungs with hydrogen altered the expression of 229 genes represented on the array (182 upregulated; 47 downregulated). Hydrogen treatment induced several lung surfactant-related genes, ATP synthase genes and stress-response genes. The intracellular surfactant pool, tissue adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels and heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) expression increased in the hydrogen-treated grafts. Hydrogen treatment also induced the transcription factors C/EBPα and C/EBPβ, which are known regulators of surfactant-related genes.
Conclusion: Donor ventilation with hydrogen significantly increases expression of surfactant-related molecules, ATP synthases and stress-response molecules in lung grafts. The induction of these molecules may underlie hydrogen's protective effects against I/R injury during transplantation.
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