Aims: Arterialized vein grafts often fail due to intimal hyperplasia. Hydrogen potently protects organs and cells from many insults via its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We investigated the efficacy of oral administration of hydrogen-rich water (HW) for prevention of intimal hyperplasia. Methods and results: The inferior vena cava was excised, stored in cold Ringer solution for 2 h, and placed as an interposition graft in the abdominal aorta of syngeneic Lewis rats. HW was generated by immersing a magnesium stick in tap water (Mg 2H2O → Mg (OH)2 H2). Beginning on the day of graft implantation, recipients were given tap water [regular water (RW)], HW or HW that had been subsequently degassed water (DW). Six weeks after grafting, the grafts in the rats given RW or DW had developed intimal hyperplasia, accompanied by increased oxidative injury. HW significantly suppressed intimal hyperplasia. One week after grafting, the grafts in HW-treated rats exhibited improved endothelial integrity with less platelet and white blood cell aggregation. Up-regulation of the mRNAs for intracellular adhesion molecules was attenuated in the vein grafts of the rats receiving HW. Activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, and MMP-9 was also significantly inhibited in grafts receiving HW. In rat smooth muscle cell (A7r5) cultures, hydrogen treatment for 24 h reduced smooth muscle cell migration. Conclusion: Drinking HW significantly reduced neointima formation after vein grafting in rats. Drinking HW may have therapeutic value as a novel therapy for intimal hyperplasia and could easily be incorporated into daily life. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.
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