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Curr Eye Res. 2013 Mar;38(3):396-404. doi: 10.3109/02713683.2012.748919. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Hydrogen-rich saline prevents early neurovascular dysfunction resulting from inhibition of oxidative stress in STZ-diabetic rats.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Shanghai Kongjiang Hospital, Shanghai, China.



Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is characterized by increased oxidative and nitrosative stress, both of which lead to neurotoxicity and vascular permeability. Previous studies on a variety of organs indicate that hydrogen-rich saline not only has considerable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but also suppresses oxidative stress-induced injury. In the present study, we assessed the effects of hydrogen-rich saline on neurovascular dysfunction and oxidative stress in an animal model (rat) of DR.


Male Sprague-Dawley rats with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes mellitus (DM) were injected intraperitoneally with 5 ml/kg hydrogen-saturated (experimental) or plain (control) saline daily for one month. Visual function and blood-retinal barrier (BRB) integrity were evaluated by electroretinography (ERG) and bovine serum albumin (BSA)-fluorescence, respectively. Histological changes in the inner retina were assessed by light microscopy. Biomarkers of oxidative stress, including 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG), and antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and glutathione transferase, were evaluated by ELISA. Synaptophysin and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels were measured by immunoblotting.


STZ-diabetic rats were marked by clearly reduced b-wave amplitudes and oscillatory potentials, DM-related BRB breakdown and histological changes in the inner retina, all of which were suppressed following treatment with hydrogen-rich saline. Furthermore, hydrogen-rich saline reduced oxidative stress, increased antioxidant enzyme activities and preserved synaptophysin and BDNF levels in the diabetic rat retina.


Based on its inhibition of oxidative stress and up-regulation of anti-oxidative enzymes, we conclude that hydrogen-rich saline is a potentially valuable therapeutic modality for the treatment of DR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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