H2 Suppresses Glioblastoma Growth and Induces Stem-like Cell DifferentiationScientific Research

original title: Molecular hydrogen suppresses glioblastoma growth via inducing the glioma stem-like cell differentiation


Meng Liu, Fei Xie, Yan Zhang, Ting Wang, Sheng Ma, Peng Zhao, Xin Zhang, Tyler W Lebaron, Xin Yan, Xue Ma

DOI: 10.1186/s13287-019-1241-x



Background: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common type of primary malignant brain tumor. Molecular hydrogen has been considered a preventive and therapeutic medical gas in many diseases including cancer. In our study, we sought to assess the potential role of molecular hydrogen on GBM.

Methods: The in vivo studies were performed using a rat orthotopic glioma model and a mouse subcutaneous xenograft model. Animals inhaled hydrogen gas (67%) 1 h two times per day. MR imaging studies were performed to determine the tumor volume. Immunohistochemistry (IHC), immunofluorescence staining, and flow cytometry analysis were conducted to determine the expression of surface markers. Sphere formation assay was performed to assess the cancer stem cell self-renewal capacity. Assays for cell migration, invasion, and colony formation were conducted.

Results: The in vivo study showed that hydrogen inhalation could effectively suppress GBM tumor growth and prolong the survival of mice with GBM. IHC and immunofluorescence staining demonstrated that hydrogen treatment markedly downregulated the expression of markers involved in stemness (CD133, Nestin), proliferation (ki67), and angiogenesis (CD34) and also upregulated GFAP expression, a marker of differentiation. Similar results were obtained in the in vitro studies. The sphere-forming ability of glioma cells was also suppressed by hydrogen treatment. Moreover, hydrogen treatment also suppressed the migration, invasion, and colony-forming ability of glioma cells. Conclusions: Together, these results indicated that molecular hydrogen may serve as a potential anti-tumor agent in the treatment of GBM.