Enhanced oxidative stress occurs in spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats (SHRSP), and is important in blood–brain barrier (BBB) disruption. Hydrogen can exert potent protective cellular effects via reduction in oxidative stress in various diseases. The present study investigated whether long-term hydrogen treatment can improve neurological function outcome in the SHRSP model, and the effects of hydrogen on BBB function, especially the oxidative stress and the activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in this model. Fifty-six animals were randomly assigned to 2 groups and treated as follows: SHRSP treated with hydrogen-rich water (HRW) (HRW group, n = 28); and SHRSP treated with regular water (control group, n = 28). The effect of HRW on overall survival and neurological function, and the effects of HRW on reactive oxygen species, BBB function, and MMP activities were examined.
HRW treatment improved neurological function and tended to improve overall survival but without significant difference. The numbers of bleeds and infarcts were lower in the cortex and hippocampus in the HRW group. The HRW group exhibited a significantly lower number of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine-positive cells and vessels of extravasated albumin in the hippocampus compared with the control group. MMP-9 activity was reduced in the hippocampus in the HRW group compared with the control group.
The present study suggests that ingestion of HRW can improve neurological function outcome in the SHRSP model. This beneficial effect may be due to attenuation of BBB disruption via reduction in reactive oxygen species and suppression of MMP-9 activity in the hippocampus.