Emerging evidence suggests that neuroinflammation and oxidative stress may be major contributors to major depressive disorder (MDD). Patients or animal models of depression show significant increase of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and oxidative stress biomarkers in the periphery or central nervous system (CNS). Recent studies show that hydrogen selectively reduces cytotoxic oxygen radicals, and hydrogen-rich saline potentially suppresses the production of several proinflammatory mediators. Since current depression medications are accompanied by a wide spectrum of side effects, novel preventative or therapeutic measures with fewer side effects might have a promising future. The authors investigated the effects of drinking hydrogen-rich water on the depressive-like behavior in mice and its underlying mechanisms. This study show that hydrogen-rich water treatment prevents chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) induced depressive-like behavior. CUMS induced elevation in IL-1β protein levels in the hippocampus, and the cortex was significantly attenuated after 4 weeks of feeding the mice hydrogen-rich water. Over-expression of caspase-1 (the IL-1β converting enzyme) and excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) was successfully suppressed by hydrogen-rich water treatment. The data suggest that the beneficial effects of hydrogen-rich water on depressive-like behavior may be mediated by suppression of the inflammasome activation resulting in attenuated protein IL-1β and ROS production.

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Zhang Y, Su WJ, Chen Y, et al. Effects of hydrogen-rich water on depressive-like behavior in mice. Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 30;6:23742.