Abstract

An increased systemic production of oxygen-free radicals by activated inflammatory cells is thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of asthma. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical effects of radon and thermal therapy on asthma in relation to antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxide. Radon and thermal therapy were performed once a week. All subjects went to a hot bathroom with a high concentration of radon, and nasal inhalation of vapor from a hot spring was performed for 40 min once a day under conditions of high humidity. The room temperature was 48°C; the room radon concentration was 2,080 Bq/m3. Blood samples were collected at 2 h, 14, and 28 days after the first therapy. A blood sample also was collected before the first therapy (at body temperature and background radon level) to be used as the control. The forced expiratory volume in one second (%FEV1) was significantly increased 28 days after the first therapy. On day 28, the catalase (CAT) activity was significantly increased in comparison with the control. The superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was significantly increased compared to the control after first inhalation. On days 14 and 28, the lipid peroxide level was significantly decreased in comparison with the control. In conclusion, the present pilot study has shown that radon and thermal therapy improved the pulmonary function of asthmatics by increasing the reduced activities of antioxidant enzymes.