Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is caused by acute lung injury, is a destructive respiratory disorder caused by a systemic inflammatory response. Persistent inflammation results in irreversible alveolar fibrosis. Because hydrogen gas possesses anti-inflammatory properties, we hypothesized that daily repeated inhalation of hydrogen gas could suppress persistent lung inflammation by inducing functional changes in macrophages, and consequently inhibit lung fibrosis during late-phase lung injury. Methods: To test this hypothesis, lung injury was induced in mice by intratracheal administration of bleomycin (1.0 mg/kg). Mice were exposed to control gas (air) or hydrogen (3.2% in air) for 6 h every day for 7 or 21 days. Respiratory physiology, tissue pathology, markers of inflammation, and macrophage phenotypes were examined. Results: Mice with bleomycin-induced lung injury that received daily hydrogen therapy for 21 days (BH group) exhibited higher static compliance (0.056 mL/cmH2O, 95% CI 0.047–0.064) than mice with bleomycin-induced lung injury exposed only to air (BA group; 0.042 mL/cmH2O, 95% CI 0.031–0.053, p = 0.02) and lower static elastance (BH 18.8 cmH2O/mL, [95% CI 15.4–22.2] vs. BA 26.7 cmH2O/mL [95% CI 19.6–33.8], p = 0.02). When the mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were examined 7 days after bleomycin administration, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-4 and IL-13 were significantly lower in the BH group than in the BA group. There were significantly fewer M2-biased macrophages in the alveolar interstitium of the BH group than in the BA group (3.1% [95% CI 1.6–4.5%] vs. 1.1% [95% CI 0.3–1.8%], p = 0.008). Conclusions: The results suggest that hydrogen inhalation inhibits the deterioration of respiratory physiological function and alveolar fibrosis in this model of lung injury.
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Bleomycin-induced lung injury
- Lung fibrosis
- Molecular hydrogen
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine