H2 regulates macrophage polarization in COPDScientific Research

original title: Hydrogen regulates the M1/M2 polarization of alveolar macrophages in a rat model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Jing Su, Yi Zhang, Chen Cheng, Yi Zhu, Yu Ye, Yong Sun, Shui Xiang, Yuan Wang, Zi Liu, Xin Zhang

DOI: 10.1080/01902148.2021.1919788



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a respiratory disease with high morbidity and mortality worldwide, so far there is no ideal treatment method. Previous studies have shown that hydrogen (H2) is involved in the treatment of COPD as an antioxidant. In this study, the effect of H2 on M1/M2 polarization of alveolar macrophages in COPD rats was observed, and its anti-inflammatory mechanism was further elucidated.

Methods: Twenty-four Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into three groups including the control, COPD and H2 group. A rat model of COPD was established by cigarette exposure combined with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induction. H2 therapy was administered 2 hours per day for 14 days. Lung function and pathology were assessed. The levels of interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and IL-10 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The mRNA, protein expression and immunoreactivity of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and arginase (Arg)-1 in lung were observed by quantitative real-time PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry.

Results: Compared with the control rats, there were a significant decline in lung function, a marked inflammatory infiltration and pulmonary parenchymal remodeling and the increases of IL-6, TNF-α and TGF-β1 levels in BALF and lung tissue, but a lower expression of IL-10 in COPD rats. The iNOS mRNA and protein expression, as well as its optical density (OD), were increased significantly in lung tissue, while those of Arg-1 decreased significantly. H2 treatment improved the lung function and the parenchymal inflammation, reversed the increased levels of IL-6, TNF-α and TGF-β1, and the lower IL-10. Meanwhile, H2 also down-regulated the expression of iNOS, but up-regulated expression of Arg-1 in lung tissue.

Conclusion: H2 reduces inflammation in the lung of COPD, which may be related to its inhibition of M1 type polarization and activation of M2 type polarization of alveolar macrophage.