Hydrogen, the simplest gas in nature, was recently reported as a therapeutic antioxidant through selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals. Though hundreds of studies on curative effects of hydrogen were published and justified, the mechanism remains unclear. We proposed several promising directions in this area by relatively in-depth analysis. Firstly, the physiological function of hydrogen was regarded neutralizing free radicals at a low dose; however, physiological effects of an excessive dose of hydrogen were necessary for the comprehensive understanding. Secondly, the therapeutic effects and mechanisms were explained by anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and apoptosis ways, while the limitation was obvious and needed update. Thirdly, further studies might be focused on the possible networks including effecters and receptors of hydrogen, and the evolutionary perspective was a good point of view. In conclusion, this review might be a reference and guidance for relative scholars.
Keywords: Antioxidant; Apoptosis; Hydrogen; Inflammatory; Necrosis; Physiological effect; Reactive oxygen species.