Hydrogen’s H2 scavenging activity lacks biological significanceScientific Research

original title: Hydroxyl-radical scavenging activity of hydrogen does not significantly contribute to its biological function


Qinjian Li, Fei Xie, Yang Yi, Pengxiang Zhao, Xin Zhang, Xiaokang Zhang, Xujuan Zhang, Xuemei Ma

DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.13.435216



Since Ohsawa et al. reported a biological antioxidant function of hydrogen in 2007, researchers have now shown it to exert protective effects in a wide range of human and animal disease models. Clinical observations and scientific arguments suggest that a selective scavenging property of H2 cannot adequately explain the beneficial effects of hydrogen. However, there is no experiment challenging the original published data, which suggested that molecular hydrogen dissolved in solution reacts with hydroxyl radicals in cell-free systems. Here we report that a hydrogen-saturated solution (0.6 mM) did not significantly reduce hydroxyl radicals in the Fenton system using 1 mM H2O2. We replicated the same condition as Ohsawa’s study (i.e. 5 μM H2O2), and observed a decrease in •OH radicals in both the H2-rich and N2-rich solutions, which may be caused by a decreased dissolved oxygen concentration. Finally, we determined the effect of hydrogen on a high-valence iron enzyme, horseradish peroxidase (HRP), and found that hydrogen could directly increase HRP activity in a dose-dependent manner. Overall, these results indicate that although H2 and •OH can react, the reaction rate is too low to have physiological function. The target of hydrogen is more complex, and its interaction with enzymes or other macro-molecules deserve more attention and in-depth study.