Hydrogen Sulfide: A Potential Novel Therapy for the Treatment of Ischemia

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Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a novel signaling molecule most recently found to be of fundamental importance in cellular function as a regulator of apoptosis, inflammation, and perfusion. Mechanisms of endogenous H2S signaling are poorly understood; however, signal transmission is thought to occur via persulfidation at reactive cysteine residues on proteins. Although much has been discovered about how H2S is synthesized in the body, less is known about how it is metabolized. Recent studies have discovered a multitude of different targets for H2S therapy, including those related to protein modification, intracellular signaling, and ion channel depolarization. The most difficult part of studying hydrogen sulfide has been finding a way to accurately and reproducibly measure it. The purpose of this review is to: elaborate on the biosynthesis and catabolism of H2S in the human body, review current knowledge of the mechanisms of action of this gas in relation to ischemic injury, define strategies for physiological measurement of H2S in biological systems, and review potential novel therapies that use H2S for treatment.

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