Molecular Hydrogen Anti Allergy

Molecular hydrogen suppresses FceRI-mediated signal transduction and prevents degranulation of mast cells!

Tomohiro Itoh, Yasunori Fujita, Mikako Ito, Akio Masuda, Kinji Ohno, Masatoshi Ichihara, Toshio Kojima, Yoshinori Nozawa, Masafumi Ito


Molecular hydrogen ameliorates oxidative stress-associated diseases in animal models. We found that oral intake of hydrogen-rich water abolishes an immediate-type allergic reaction in mice. Using rat RBL-2H3 mast cells, we demonstrated that hydrogen attenuates phosphorylation of the FceRIassociated Lyn and its downstream signal transduction, which subsequently inhibits the NADPH oxidase activity and reduces the generation of hydrogen peroxide. We also found that inhibition of NADPH oxidase attenuates phosphorylation of Lyn in mast cells, indicating the presence of a feed-forward loop that potentiates the allergic responses.

Hydrogen accordingly inhibits all tested signaling molecule(s) in the loop. Hydrogen effects have been solely ascribed to exclusive removal of hydroxyl radical. In the immediate-type allergic reaction, hydrogen exerts its beneficial effect not by its radical scavenging activity but by modulating a specific signaling pathway. Effects of hydrogen in other diseases are possibly mediated by modulation of yet unidentified signaling pathways. Our studies also suggest that hydrogen is a gaseous signaling molecule like nitric oxide. Molecular hydrogen suppresses FceRI-mediated signal transduction and prevents degranulation of mast cells.

Before this study it was believed that the beneficial effects of hydrogen were solely due to hydrogen’s ability to scavenge hydroxyl radicals. This study was important to scientists because it showed for the first time that hydrogen has a beneficial effect on allergic reactions due to a different mechanism inside the cell. The hydrogen molecule makes changes in a cell’s “signal transduction.” Signal transduction occurs when a molecule (like hydrogen) outside of a cell attaches to a receptor protein on the surface of the cell. This causes a physiological response inside the cell, and a series of chemical reactions occur that change how the cell is functioning. In this case, the cells that were affected by hydrogen were mast cells in mice. Mast cells are part of the immune system.

They release histamine (a process called degranulation) when they are stimulated by an allergen (a substance that causes allergies.) The histamine causes inflammation, swelling, and increased mucus production. The scientists found that when mice drank hydrogen-rich water for four weeks, they had lower levels of histamine in their blood than mice that drank regular water. When they did more studies to investigate how hydrogen functioned inside the body, they discovered that hydrogen prevents the degranulation of mast cells, which prevents histamine from being released into the body. Thus, drinking hydrogen-rich water may be effective against a wide range of allergic diseases such as bronchial asthma, rhinitis and conjunctivitis in humans. However, the authors caution that this will need to be validated by large-scale clinical trials in humans.

Download this article from Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (Itoh et al 2009)

Author: Research Article