H2S in the Vasculature: Controversy of Mechanisms in Physiology, Pathology and Beyond

Nishijima Y and Beyer AM

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenously gaseous messenger with a number of physiological effects. Pharmacological and genetic models point toward an important role for this vasodilator gas in the regulation of vascular tone, cardiac response to ischemia/reperfusion injury, and inflammation among others. Understanding the complex interaction of H2S with basic cellular signaling and its impact on endothelial and smooth muscle physiology may provide insights into the early stages of developing vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis or related vascular pathologies. The underlying mechanism of action is not completely understood. Recent evidence suggests a key role of H2S in protecting mitochondria against oxidative damage, regulation of ion channels and modulation of eNOS activity. This review will focus on the key role of H2S in the regulation of vascular function including free radical production and its physiological role in health and disease