Molecular Hydrogen Reduces LPS-Induced Neuroinflammation and Promotes Recovery from Sickness Behaviour in Mice

<div><p>Molecular hydrogen has been shown to have neuroprotective effects in mouse models of acute neurodegeneration. The effect was suggested to be mediated by its free-radical scavenger properties. However, it has been shown recently that molecular hydrogen alters gene expression and protein phosphorylation. The aim of this study was to test whether chronic <em>ad libitum</em> consumption of molecular hydrogen-enriched electrochemically reduced water (H-ERW) improves the outcome of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced neuroinflammation. Seven days after the initiation of H-ERW treatment, C57Bl/6 mice received a single injection of LPS (0.33 mg/kg i.p.) or an equivalent volume of vehicle. The LPS-induced sickness behaviour was assessed 2 h after the injection, and recovery was assessed by monitoring the spontaneous locomotor activity in the homecage for 72 h after the administration of LPS. The mice were killed in the acute or recovery phase, and the expression of pro- and antiinflammatory cytokines in the hippocampus was assessed by real-time PCR. We found that molecular hydrogen reduces the LPS-induced sickness behaviour and promotes recovery. These effects are associated with a shift towards anti-inflammatory gene expression profile at baseline (downregulation of TNF- α and upregulation of IL-10). In addition, molecular hydrogen increases the amplitude, but shortens the duration and promotes the extinction of neuroinflammation. Consistently, molecular hydrogen modulates the activation and gene expression in a similar fashion in immortalized murine microglia (BV-2 cell line), suggesting that the effects observed <em>in vivo</em> may involve the modulation of microglial activation. Taken together, our data point to the regulation of cytokine expression being an additional critical mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of molecular hydrogen.</p> </div>