H2 mitigates sepsis-induced encephalopathy via NRF2-NLRP3 inactivationScientific Research

original title: Hydrogen attenuates sepsis-associated encephalopathy by NRF2 mediated NLRP3 pathway inactivation


Ke Xie, Yang Zhang, Yaoqi Wang, Xiaoyin Meng, Yuzun Wang, Yonghao Yu, Hongguang Chen

DOI: 10.1007/s00011-020-01347-9



Objective Sepsis-associated encephalopathy (SAE) is a major cause of mortality worldwide. Oxidative stress, inflammatory response and apoptosis participate in the pathogenesis of SAE. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor containing pyrin domain 3 (NLRP3) pathway is involved in oxidative stress and inflammatory response. We reported that hydrogen gas protected against sepsis in wild-type (WT) but not Nrf2 knockout (KO) mice. Therefore, it is vital to identify the underlying cause of hydrogen gas treatment of sepsis-associated encephalopathy.MethodsSAE was induced in WT and Nrf2 KO mice by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). As a NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor, MCC950 (50 mg/kg) was administered by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection before operation. Hydrogen gas (H2)-rich saline solution (5 mL/kg) was administered by i.p. injection at 1 h and 6 h after sham and CLP operations. Brain tissue was collected to assess the NLRP3 and Nrf2 pathways by western blotting, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunofluorescence.ResultsSAE increased NLRP3 and Nrf2 expression in microglia. MCC950 inhibited SAE-induced NLRP3 expression, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 cytokine release, neuronal apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction. SAE increased NLRP3 and caspase-1 expression in WT mice compared to Nrf2 KO mice. Hydrogen increased Nrf2 expression and inhibited the SAE-induced expression of NLRP3, caspase-1, cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, neuronal apoptosis, and mitochondrial dysfunction in WT mice but not Nrf2 KO mice.ConclusionSAE increased NLRP3 and Nrf2 expression in microglia. Hydrogen alleviated inflammation, neuronal apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction via inhibiting Nrf2-mediated NLRP3 pathway.