The goal of this work was to determine whether hydrogen-rich water (HRW) could attenuate radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction in rats and to explore the underlying mechanisms. Rats received 30 Gy whole-brain irradiation using a 6-MeV electron beam. Either purified water or HRW (0.8–0.9 ppm) was administrated at 10 min prior to irradiation, as well as a daily HRW treatment after irradiation for 30 consecutive days. The Morris water maze was used to test spatial memory in the rats. The concentration of glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA), 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and the super-oxidedismutase (SOD) activity in cerebral cortex, as well as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) level in serum, were measured. Immunofluorescence staining was adopted to detect proliferating cells. The expression of BDNF-TrkB pathway-related genes and proteins were detected using qRT-PCR and Western blot. Models of cognitive dysfunction were successfully established using a 30 Gy dose of ionizing radiation. Compared to the radiation treated group, the radiation-HRW treated group showed significantly decreased escape latency (P < 0.05), but increased retention time, swimming distance of original platform quadrant (P < 0.05) and number of platform crossings (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the SOD, GSH (P < 0.05) and BDNF (P < 0.05) levels in the radiation-HRW treated group were higher compared to the radiation treated group. The MDA and 8-OHdG levels (P < 0.05) were decreased in the radiation-HRW treated group when compared to the radiation treated group. Additionally, treatment with HRW increased the number of BrdU+NeuN+ cells in the radiation treated group. The mRNA and protein levels of BDNF and TrkB (P < 0.05) in radiation-HRW treated group was higher than that in the radiation treated group. Collectively, our study indicates that HRW has a protective effect on radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction, and that the possible mechanisms mainly involve anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory reactions, and its protection of newborn neurons by regulating the BDNF-TrkB signaling pathway.
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Vol. 193 • No. 1