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). 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. 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). This study suggests that H2 protected the immune system and alleviated the hematological injury induced by IR.
Yang Y, Li B, Liu C, Chuai Y, Lei J, Gao F, et al. Hydrogen-rich saline protects immunocytes from radiation-induced apoptosis. Med Sci Monit 2012 Apr; Vol. 18 (4), pp. BR144-8.