Background: Ulcerative colitis (UC) is associated with enhanced production of reactive oxygen species and altered angiogenesis. Molecular hydrogen has been documented as a novel antioxidant to treat various reactive oxygen species-related diseases. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of hydrogen on UC using a rat model.
Materials and methods: UC in rats was induced with intracolonically administrated acetic acid. Hydrogen was supplied through intraperitoneal injection of 10 or 20 mL/kg hydrogen-rich saline. The hydrogen treatment was performed once every 2 d and lasted 2 wk. The stool consistency and weight loss were used to evaluate UC development. Colonic mucosal damage at the end of the experiment was scored using the macroscopic and microscopic observations. Vascular endothelial growth factor expression in the colonic mucosa was determined using immunohistochemistry.
Results: The administration of acetic acid induced acute rat UC, as indicated by diarrhea, weight loss, and colonic mucosal damage. Treatment with hydrogen-rich saline reduced the weight loss and diarrhea and alleviated the colonic mucosal damage in the UC rats. In addition, the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in the UC rats increased and could be inhibited by hydrogen treatment.
Conclusions: Antioxidative hydrogen-rich saline effectively protected the rats from UC, which might be, at least in part, because of inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor.
Keywords: Hydrogen; Inflammatory bowel disease; Ulcerative colitis; Vascular endothelial growth factor.
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