maternal activation molecular hydrogen

Maternal Activation of Molecular Hydrogen Enhances Pregnancy Maintenance via Mitochondrial Benefits

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Imagine for a moment the maternal, soft, gentle rhythm of a mother’s breath—the quiet but profound release of molecular hydrogen (H2).

We often overlook the simplicity of a breath, yet in the vast expanse of maternity, this sustained molecular whisper of H2 may hold the key to a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

In a groundbreaking study by the University Graduate School of Medicine, scientists have taken an insightful leap into understanding the role and effect of molecular hydrogen in maternal health during pregnancy.

Did you know?

Lower levels of maternal molecular hydrogen are significantly associated with preterm births, according to investigated effects.

Here’s why researchers are considering the potential of using H2 as a biomarker and its influence over the activation of the immune system’s T cells.

Key Discoveries

  • Maternal production of H2, or essentially maternal molecular hydrogen, is notably less in cases that result in preterm birth.
  • Molecular hydrogen can effectively adjust cytokine production from activated T cells.
  • Molecular hydrogen during pregnancy improves mitochondrial functionality, leading to healthy pregnancies.
  • Administration of molecular hydrogen to mothers could play a significant role in extending the duration of pregnancy.
  • Using pregnant mice as a mouse model, the study illuminated a clear molecular mechanism.

Lower H2 production in expectant mothers could signify a heightened risk of preterm birth

This discovery not only sheds light on the physiological nuances of pregnancy but also unfolds the promise of H2’s impact on the immune system’s balance—specifically, the regulation of T cells vital for a sustained pregnancy.

“Our data demonstrated that molecular hydrogen modulates cytokine production from human primary effector T cells by increasing their mitochondrial function and reducing reactive oxygen species, essentially free radicals,” explained the University Graduate School of Medicine researchers.

“It’s a clear display of the neuroprotective potential of molecular hydrogen against perinatal brain injury.”

What This Means

Monitoring maternal molecular hydrogen levels could become a simple, non-invasive method to foresee and potentially prevent preterm births. The administration of hydrogen-rich water, or simply hydrogen water, to pregnant women could be part of this strategy.

The study hints at a future where molecular hydrogen administration could be a natural adjunct to prenatal care, harnessing the body’s molecular language to support pregnancy. It’s worth noting that the researchers have no conflict of interest in this matter.

Beyond pregnancy support, the research taps into a more significant social fabric. 

Imagine the impact of not having to worry about the risk of a premature birth… 

And reducing the emotional and economic burden of potential premature birth.

Its worth considering as a scientific lifeline to families and healthcare systems alike. Hydrogen during pregnancy has the potential to target the maternal immune system, it can show potential therapeutic effects.


The echoed sigh of a mother’s breath, filled with molecular hydrogen, could soon resonate as a predictor of pregnancy health. Maternal administration of H2 could play a major role in the prevention of perinatal brain injury via suppression of activated microglia, thereby selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals.

This study’s findings accentuate the profound connection between the microscopic world of molecules and the tangible, lived experiences of mothers-to-be. It paints a picture where every breath is a whisper of potential, a silent marker of a journey to be cherished in full term.


Authors: Chieko Aoki and Kenji Imai

Source: Science Direct

Image: Image is credited to Vital Reaction

Original research: Open source:

Molecular hydrogen has a positive impact on pregnancy maintenance through enhancement of mitochondrial function and immunomodulatory effects on T cells



Molecular hydrogen (H2) has attracted growing interest because of its implications in various diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the remarkable effect of a small amount of H2 remain elusive. No knowledge has been available on the role of H2 in the etiology of pregnancy disorders or its direct influence on human immune cells. Since maternal immunity, T cells in particular, plays a critical role in pregnancy maintenance. We investigated the effects of H2 on T cells and its relation to preterm birth (PTB).

Main methods

Exhaled H2 concentrations in pregnant women were measured and correlated with cytokine concentrations in maternal and umbilical cord blood. H2 was added to T cells collected from healthy donors, and differentiation and proliferation were examined. Energy metabolism was also examined. H2 was administered to mice and cytokine expression was compared.

Key findings

Our prospective observational study revealed that maternal production of H2 is significantly lower in pregnant women with PTB, suggesting its potential as a biomarker for predicting PTB. We found that H2 has clear associations with several maternal cytokines, and acts as an immunomodulator by exerting mitochondrial function in human T cells. Moreover, in vivo administration of H2 to pregnant mice regulated inflammatory responses and reduced PTB caused by T cell activation, which further supports the notion that H2 may contribute to prolonged gestation through its immunomodulatory effect.


Measuring maternal H2-production could be a potential clinical tool in the management of PTB, and H2 may have positive impact on pregnancy maintenance.

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