H2 Boosts Pregnancy Maintenance: Mitochondrial Function & T Cell ImmunomodulationScientific Research

original title: Molecular hydrogen has a positive impact on pregnancy maintenance through enhancement of mitochondrial function and immunomodulatory effects on T cells


Chieko Aoki, Kenji Imai, Teruyuki Mizutani, Daisuke Sugiyama, Rika Miki, Yoshihiro Koya, Tomoko Kobayashi, Takefumi Ushida, Yukako Iitani, Noriyuki Nakamura, Taro Owaki, Hiroyoshi Nishikawa, Shinya Toyokuni, Hiroaki Kajiyama, Tomomi Kotani

DOI: 10.1016/j.lfs.2022.120955



Aims: Molecular hydrogen (H2) has attracted growing interest because of its implications in various diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the remarkable effect of a small amount of H2 remain elusive. No knowledge has been available on the role of H2 in the etiology of pregnancy disorders or its direct influence on human immune cells. Since maternal immunity, T cells in particular, plays a critical role in pregnancy maintenance. We investigated the effects of H2 on T cells and its relation to preterm birth (PTB). Main methods: Exhaled H2 concentrations in pregnant women were measured and correlated with cytokine concentrations in maternal and umbilical cord blood. H2 was added to T cells collected from healthy donors, and differentiation and proliferation were examined. Energy metabolism was also examined. H2 was administered to mice and cytokine expression was compared. Key findings: Our prospective observational study revealed that maternal production of H2 is significantly lower in pregnant women with PTB, suggesting its potential as a biomarker for predicting PTB. We found that H2 has clear associations with several maternal cytokines, and acts as an immunomodulator by exerting mitochondrial function in human T cells. Moreover, in vivo administration of H2 to pregnant mice regulated inflammatory responses and reduced PTB caused by T cell activation, which further supports the notion that H2 may contribute to prolonged gestation through its immunomodulatory effect. Significance: Measuring maternal H2-production could be a potential clinical tool in the management of PTB, and H2 may have positive impact on pregnancy maintenance.