Hydrogen Sulfide Prevents and Partially Reverses Ozone-Induced Features of Lung Inflammation and Emphysema in Mice

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Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a novel signaling gasotransmitter in the respiratory system, may have antiinflammatory properties in the lung. We examined the preventive and therapeutic effects of H2S on ozone-induced features of lung inflammation and emphysema. C57/BL6 mice were exposed to ozone or filtered air over 6 weeks. Sodium hydrogen sulfide (NaHS), an H2S donor, was administered to the mice either before ozone exposure (preventive effect) or after completion of 6 weeks of ozone exposure (therapeutic effect). The ozone-exposed mice developed emphysema, measured by micro-computed tomography and histology, airflow limitation, measured by the forced maneuver system, and increased lung inflammation with augmented IL-1β, IL-18, and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) gene expression. Ozone-induced changes were associated with increased Nod-like receptor pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3)-caspase-1 activation and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation and decreased Akt phosphorylation. NaHS both prevented and reversed lung inflammation and emphysematous changes in alveolar space. In contrast, NaHS prevented, but did not reverse, ozone-induced airflow limitation and bronchial structural remodeling. In conclusion, NaHS administration prevented and partially reversed ozone-induced features of lung inflammation and emphysema via regulation of the NLRP3-caspase-1, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and Akt pathways.

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