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Role of Hydrogen Sulfide in the Pathology of Inflammation
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a well-known toxic gas that is synthesized in the human body from the amino acids cystathionine, homocysteine, and cysteine by the action of at least two distinct enzymes: cystathionine-γ-lyase and cystathionine-β-synthase. In the past few years, H2S has emerged as a novel and increasingly important biological mediator. Imbalances in H2S have also been shown to be associated with various disease conditions. However, defining the precise pathophysiology of H2S is proving to be a complex challenge. Recent research in our laboratory has shown H2S as a novel mediator of inflammation and work in several groups worldwide is currently focused on determining the role of H2S in inflammation. H2S has been implicated in different inflammatory conditions, such as acute pancreatitis, sepsis, joint inflammation, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Active research on the role of H2S in inflammation will unravel the pathophysiology of its actions in inflammatory conditions and may help develop novel therapeutic approaches for several, as yet incurable, disease conditions.