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Hydrogen sulfide is emerging as an important mediator of many aspects of inflammation, and perhaps most importantly as a factor promoting the resolution of inflammation and repair of injury. In the gastrointestinal tract, H(2)S has been shown to promote healing of ulcers and the resolution of mucosal inflammation. On the other hand, suppression of endogenous H(2)S synthesis impairs mucosal defense and leads to increased granulocyte infiltration. H(2)S has been exploited in the design of more effective and safe anti-inflammatory drugs. Enteric bacteria can be a significant source of H(2)S, which could affect mucosal integrity; indeed, luminal H(2)S can serve as an alternative to oxygen as a metabolic substrate for mitochondrial respiration in epithelial cells. Enterocytes and colonocytes thereby represent a "metabolic barrier" to the diffusion of bacteria-derived H(2)S into the subepithelial space. A compromise of this barrier could result in modulation of mucosal function and integrity by bacterial H(2)S. Improvements in methods for measurement of H(2)S and development of more selective inhibitors are crucial for gaining a better understanding of the pathophysiological importance of this mediator. Results from animal studies suggest that H(2)S-releasing agents are promising therapeutic agents for many indications, but these compounds need to be assessed in a clinical setting.


John L Wallace, Jose G P Ferraz, Marcelo N Muscara. Hydrogen sulfide: an endogenous mediator of resolution of inflammation and injury. Antioxidants & redox signaling. 2012 Jul 1;17(1):58-67

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PMID: 22017247

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