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. 2013 Sep 14;9(9):887-94.
doi: 10.7150/ijbs.7220. eCollection 2013.

Hydrogen as a New Class of Radioprotective Agent

Free PMC article

Hydrogen as a New Class of Radioprotective Agent

Liren Qian et al. Int J Biol Sci. .
Free PMC article


It is well known that most of the ionizing radiation-induced damage is caused by hydroxyl radicals (·OH) follows radiolysis of H2O. Molecular hydrogen (H2) has antioxidant activities by selectively reducing ·OH and peroxynitrite(ONOO-). We firstly hypothesized and demonstrated the radioprotective effect of H2 in vitro and in vivo, which was also repeated on different experimental animal models by different departments. A randomized, placebo-controlled study showed that consumption of hydrogen-rich water reduces the biological reaction to radiation-induced oxidative stress without compromising anti-tumor effects. These encouraging results suggested that H2 represents a potentially novel preventative strategy for radiation-induced oxidative injuries. H2 is explosive. Therefore, administration of hydrogen-rich solution (physiological saline/pure water/other solutions saturated with H2) may be more practical in daily life and more suitable for daily consumption. This review focuses on major scientific and clinical advances of hydrogen-rich solution/H2 as a new class of radioprotective agent.

Keywords: Hydrogen; free radical; radiation; radioprotection..

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Free radicals generated during radiolysis of water and cytotoxic oxygen radicals that hydrogen could selectively reduce. Initial radiation chemistry of ionization and excitation is to generate H2O+ and e- from the ionization of H2O, and hydrogen atom (H∙) and hydroxyl radical (∙OH) from the excited H2O. ∙OH is the cytotoxic oxygen radical that hydrogen could selectively reduce which caused most of the IR-induced cellular damage.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Radioprotective effects of hydrogen on different systems including cell free system, intestine, haematopoietic system, testis, skin, Lung, cardiovascular, brain, etc.

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