The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that hydrogen-rich saline (HRS) might have protective effects on the development of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in a neonatal rat model. NEC was induced in male newborn Sprague-Dawley rats by formula feeding, exposure to asphyxia and cold stress. Sixty-four rat pups were divided randomly into four groups: C+NS (n=11), C+H2 (n=11), NEC+NS (n=20), and NEC+H2 (n=22). Rats in the former two groups were mother-fed. Pups received intra-peritoneal injection of HRS (10 ml/kg, 10 min before asphyxia stress twice a day) or the same dose of normal saline. Rats were monitored until 96 h after birth. Body weight, histological NEC score, survival time, malondialdehyde, antioxidant capacity, inflammatory mediators, and mucosal integrity were assessed. HRS treatment maintained the body weight, reduced the incidence of NEC from 85% (17/20) to 54.5% (12/22), increased the survival rate from 25% (5/20) to 68.2% (15/22), and attenuated the severity of NEC. In addition, HRS inhibited the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory mediators (inducible nitric oxide synthase, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interleukin-6), down-regulated lipid peroxidation, enhanced total antioxidant capacity, and prevented the increase of diamine oxidase in serum. However, no significant influence of HRS on the interleukin-10 mRNA expression was observed. HRS showed beneficial effects on neonatal rats with NEC via decreasing oxidative stress, increasing antioxidant capacity, suppressing inflammation, and preserving mucosal integrity.
Sheng Q, Lv Z, Cai W, Song H, Qian L, Wang X. Protective effects of hydrogen-rich saline on necrotizing enterocolitis in neonatal rats. J Pediatr Surg. 2013 Aug;48(8):1697-706.