Background and Aims Asphyxia and subsequent reoxygenation cause a burst of oxygen free radicals. A gas mixture of ambient air and hydrogen may provide early neuroprotection.
Hydrogen may act as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals and thereby contribute to less apoptosis.
Methods Newborn piglets underwent hypoxia following a standardized model. They were randomly assigned for 30 min resuscitation with air (21% O2) (n=12) or 2.1% Hydrogen gas mixed into synthetic air, H2, (n=14) and then observed for 9 hours. One control group (n=6) went through the same procedures and observation time (anesthesia, surgery, ventilation and sample collection). The left hemisphere was used for histopathology. Tissue from prefrontal cortex and liver were snap frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored by –70° C until analysis. The tissue samples were homogenized and the protein extracted. A Quantikine KM 300 immunoassay was used to measure activated caspase-3. protein. Gene expression for Casp-3, BDNF, MMP-2, MMP-9 and VEGFR2 was measured in tissue from prefrontal cortex and liver.
Results The use of 2.1% hydrogen gas mixed into synthetic air decreased activated caspase-3 vs. air. In liver tissue piglets resuscitated with air: 12.6 pg/mg protein SD (9.1) vs. H2: 5.3 (4.9), p=0.031 whereas in cortex piglets resuscitated with air 26.3 pg/mg protein (14.9) vs. H2 15.4 (13.0), p=0.05.
There were no significant changes in gene expression in liver and cortex. Histopathology showed a tendency to less brain damage in the hydrogen group.
Conclusions Hydrogen gas used for newborn resuscitation may reduce apoptosis.