The therapeutic potential of molecular hydrogen (H 2) is emerging in a number of human diseases and in their animal models, including in particular Parkinson's disease (PD). H2 supplementation of drinking water has been shown to exert disease-modifying effects in PD patients and neuroprotective effects in experimental PD model mice. However, H2 supplementation does not result in detectable changes in striatal H 2 levels, indicating an indirect effect. Here we show that H2 supplementation increases gastric expression of mRNA encoding ghrelin, a growth hormone secretagogue, and ghrelin secretion, which are antagonized by the β 1-adrenoceptor blocker, atenolol. Strikingly, the neuroprotective effect of H 2 water was abolished by either administration of the ghrelin receptor-antagonist, D-Lys 3 GHRP-6, or atenolol. Thus, the neuroprotective effect of H2 in PD is mediated by enhanced production of ghrelin. Our findings point to potential, novel strategies for ameliorating pathophysiology in which a protective effect of H2 supplementation has been demonstrated.
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