Sepsis is the most common cause of death in intensive care units. Some studies have found that hyperoxia may be beneficial to sepsis. However, the clinical use of hyperoxia is hindered by concerns that it could exacerbate organ injury by increasing free radical formation. Recently, it has been suggested that molecular hydrogen (H2) at low concentration can exert a therapeutic antioxidant activity and effectively protect against sepsis by reducing oxidative stress. Therefore, we hypothesized that combination therapy with H2 and hyperoxia might afford more potent therapeutic strategies for sepsis. In the present study, we found that inhalation of H2 (2%) or hyperoxia (98%) alone improved the 14-day survival rate of septic mice with moderate cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) from 40% to 80% or 70%, respectively. However, combination therapy with H2 and hyperoxia could increase the 14-day survival rate of moderate CLP mice to 100% and improve the 7-day survival rate of severe CLP mice from 0% to 70%. Moreover, moderate CLP mice showed significant organ damage characterized by the increases in lung myeloperoxidase activity, lung wet-to-dry weight ratio, protein concentration in bronchoalveolar lavage, serum biochemical parameters (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen), and organ histopathological scores (lung, liver, and kidney), as well as the decrease in PaO2/FIO2 ratio at 24 h, which was attenuated by either H2 or hyperoxia alone. However, combination therapy with H2 and hyperoxia had a more beneficial effect against lung, liver, and kidney damage of moderate or severe CLP mice. Furthermore, we found that the beneficial effect of this combination therapy was associated with the decreased levels of oxidative product (8-iso-prostaglandin F2α), increased activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase and catalase) and anti-inflammatory cytokine (interleukin 10), and reduced levels of proinflammatory cytokines (high-mobility group box 1 and tumor necrosis factor α) in serum and tissues. Therefore, combination therapy with H2 and hyperoxia provides enhanced therapeutic efficacy via both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms and might be potentially a clinically feasible approach for sepsis.
Xie K, Fu W, Xing W, Li A, Chen H, Han H, et al. Combination therapy with molecular hydrogen and hyperoxia in a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis. Shock 2012 Dec; Vol. 38 (6), pp. 656-63.