Introduction: Chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain (CINP) is one of the most common complications of chemotherapeutic drugs which limits the dose and duration of potentially life-saving anticancer treatment and compromises the quality of life of patients. Our previous studies have reported that molecular hydrogen (H2) can be used to prevent and treat various diseases. But the underlying mechanism remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of hydrogen-rich water on gut microbiota in CINP.
Methods: All C57BL/6J mice were divided into 4 groups: The group fed with normal drinking water and injected with saline (H2O + Saline), the group fed with normal drinking water and injected with oxaliplatin (H2O + OXA), the group fed with hydrogen-rich water and injected with saline (HW + Saline), and the group fed with hydrogen-rich water and injected with oxaliplatin (HW + OXA). The mechanical paw withdrawal threshold of the mice was tested on days 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 after hydrogen-rich water treatment. On day 20, feces of mice from different groups were collected for microbial community diversity and structure analysis. The levels of inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6), oxidative stress factors (OH- and ONOO-), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) were detected in dorsal root ganglia (DRG), L4-6 spinal cord segments and serum by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of TLR4 in DRG and spinal cords was determined by Western blot.
Results: The results illustrated that hydrogen-rich water could alleviate oxaliplatin-induced hyperalgesia, reduce the microbial diversity and alter the structure of gut microbiota, reverse the imbalance of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress, and decrease the expression of LPS and TLR4.
Conclusion: Hydrogen-rich water may alleviate CINP by affecting the diversity and structure of the gut microbiota, and then the LPS-TLR4 pathway, which provides a direction for further research.
Keywords: CINP; LPS-TLR4 pathway; gut microbiota; hydrogen-rich water.
© 2021 Lian et al.