The following is the summary of “Protective effects of hydrogen gas against spinal cord ischemia–reperfusion injury” published in the December 2022 issue of Thoracic and cardiovascular surgery by Kimura, et al.

Researchers used in vivo microdialysis to measure glutamate concentration in the ventral horn to evaluate the efficacy of inhaling hydrogen gas in protecting against spinal cord ischemia-reperfusion injury and to uncover the mechanism by which it does so. 6 groups of male Sprague-Dawley rats were used for this study: sham, spinal ischemia only, spinal ischemia plus 3% hydrogen gas, spinal ischemia plus 2% hydrogen gas, spinal ischemia plus 1% hydrogen gas, and spinal ischemia plus dihydrokainic [selective inhibitor of glutamate transporter-1] plus 3% hydrogen gas. Then, 10 minutes before the ischemia, the patient began breathing in hydrogen gas. In addition, the dihydrokainate group was given a glutamate transporter-1 inhibitor 20 minutes before the ischemia.

They were exposed to hydrogen gas. Glutamate transporter-1 expression was examined in the ventral horn using immunofluorescence. Hydrogen gas at a concentration of 3% significantly attenuated (P<.05) the rise in extracellular glutamate caused by spinal ischemia. 3 distinct percentages (1%, 2%, and 3%) were responsible for this result. On the contrary, the suppression of the glutamate rise seen following inhalation of 3% hydrogen gas after spinal ischemia was attenuated when a glutamate transporter-1 inhibitor was administered beforehand. 

Immunofluorescence analysis revealed a substantial (P<.05) decrease in glutamate transporter-1 expression in the spinal ischemia group compared to the sham group, which was partially reversed by inhalation of 3% hydrogen gas. Their results showed that inhaling hydrogen gas protects against spinal ischemia injury and that the protective effects are at least partially mediated by the glutamate transporter-1.