In phacoemulsification, ultrasound induces hydroxyl radical (·OH) formation, damaging corneal endothelium. Whether H2 can prevent such oxidative damage in phacoemulsification was examined by in vitro and in vivo studies. H2 was dissolved in a commercial irrigating solution. The effects of H2 against ·OH generation were first confirmed in vitro by electron-spin resonance (ESR) and hydroxyphenyl fluorescein (HPF). ESR showed a significantly decreased signal magnitude, and fluorescence intensity by oxidized HPF was significantly less in the H2-dissolved solution. The effects of H2 in phacoemulsification were evaluated in rabbits, comparing H2-dissolved and control solutions. Five hours after the procedure, the whole cornea was excised and subjected to image analysis for corneal edema, real-time semiquantitative PCR (qPCR) for heme oxygenase (HO)-1, catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), and SOD2 mRNA, and immunohistochemistry. Corneal edema was significantly less and the increases in anti-oxidative HO-1, CAT and SOD2 mRNA expressions were significantly suppressed in the H2 group. In addition, corneal endothelial cell expressions of two oxidative stress markers, 4-HNE and 8-OHdG, were significantly lower in the H2 group. In conclusion, H2 dissolved in the ocular irrigating solution protected corneal endothelial cells from phacoemulsification-induced oxidative stress and damage.
Igarashi T, Ohsawa I, Kobayashi M, et al. Hydrogen prevents corneal endothelial damage in phacoemulsification cataract surgery. Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 8;6:31190.