AIM To investigate the therapeutic effect of hydrogen-rich water (HRW) on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and to explore the potential mechanisms involved. METHODS Male mice were randomly divided into the following four groups: control group, in which the mice received equivalent volumes of normal saline (NS) intraperitoneally (ip); dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) group, in which the mice received NS ip (5 mL/kg body weight, twice per day at 8 am and 5 pm) for 7 consecutive days after IBD modeling; DSS + HRW group, in which the mice received HRW (in the same volume as the NS treatment) for 7 consecutive days after IBD modeling; and DSS + HRW + ZnPP group, in which the mice received HRW (in the same volume as the NS treatment) and ZnPP [a heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) inhibitor, 25 mg/kg] for 7 consecutive days after IBD modeling. IBD was induced by feeding DSS to the mice, and blood and colon tissues were collected on the 7th d after IBD modeling to determine clinical symptoms, colonic inflammation and the potential mechanisms involved. RESULTS The DSS + HRW group exhibited significantly attenuated weight loss and a lower extent of disease activity index compared with the DSS group on the 7th d (P < 0.05). HRW exerted protective effects against colon shortening and colonic wall thickening in contrast to the DSS group (P < 0.05). The histological study demonstrated milder inflammation in the DSS + HRW group, which was similar to normal inflammatory levels, and the macroscopic and microcosmic damage scores were lower in this group than in the DSS group (P < 0.05). The oxidative stress parameters, including MDA and MPO in the colon, were significantly decreased in the DSS + HRW group compared with the DSS group (P < 0.05). Simultaneously, the protective indicators, superoxide dismutase and glutathione, were markedly increased with the use of HRW. Inflammatory factors were assessed, and the results showed that the DSS + HRW group exhibited significantly reduced levels of TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β compared with the DSS group (P < 0.05). In addition, the pivotal proteins involved in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, including p-eIF2α, ATF4, XBP1s and CHOP, were dramatically reduced after HRW treatment in contrast to the control group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, HRW treatment markedly up-regulated HO-1 expression, and the use of ZnPP obviously reversed the protective role of HRW. In the DSS + HRW + ZnPP group, colon shortening and colonic wall thickening were significantly aggravated, and the macroscopic damage scores were similar to those of the DSS + HRW group (P < 0.05). The histological study also showed more serious colonic damage that was similar to the DSS group. CONCLUSION HRW has a significant therapeutic potential in IBD by inhibiting inflammatory factors, oxidative stress and ER stress and by up-regulating HO-1 expression.
Key words: Hydrogen; Inflammatory bowel disease; Oxidative stress; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Heme oxygenase-1
Nai-Ying Shen, Jian-Bin Bi, Jing-Yao Zhang, Si-Min Zhang, Jing-Xian Gu, Kai Qu, Chang Liu, Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, Shaanxi Province, China