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Hydrogen-rich saline protects immunocytes from radiation-induced apoptosis

Yanyong Yang, Bailong Li, Cong Liu, Yunhai Chuai, Jixiao Lei, Fu Gao, Jianguo Cui, Ding Sun, Ying Cheng, Chuanfeng Zhou, Jiamming Cai

Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(4): BR144-148

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.882616

Published: 2012-04-01

Background:    Radiation often causes depletion of immunocytes in tissues and blood, which results in immunosuppression. Molecular hydrogen (H2) has been shown in recent studies to have potential as a safe and effective radioprotective agent through scavenging free radicals. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that H2 could protect immunocytes from ionizing radiation (IR).
    Material/Methods:    H2 was dissolved in physiological saline or medium using an apparatus produced by our department. A 2-[6-(4’-hydroxy) phenoxy-3H-xanthen-3-on-9-yl] benzoate (HPF) probe was used to detect intracellular hydroxyl radicals (•OH). Cell apoptosis was evaluated by annexin V-FITC and Propidium iodide (PI) staining as well as the caspase 3 activity. Finally, we examined the hematological changes using an automatic Sysmex XE 2100 hematology analyzer.
    Results:    We demonstrated H2-rich medium pretreatment reduced •OH level in AHH-1 cells. We also showed H2 reduced radiation-induced apoptosis in thymocytes and splenocytes in living mice. Radiation-induced caspase 3 activation was also attenuated by H2 treatment. Finally, we found that H2 rescued the radiation-caused depletion of white blood cells (WBC) and platelets (PLT).
    Conclusions:    This study suggests that H2 protected the immune system and alleviated the hematological injury induced by IR.

Keywords: Mice, Inbred BALB C, Male, Mice, Lymphocytes - radiation effects, Hydroxyl Radical - metabolism, Hydrogen - pharmacology, Humans, Gamma Rays, Enzyme Activation - radiation effects, Cytoprotection - radiation effects, Cells, Cultured, Caspase 3 - metabolism, Apoptosis - radiation effects, Animals, Radiation-Protective Agents - pharmacology, Sodium Chloride - pharmacology, Spleen - radiation effects