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Microorganisms 2015, 3(4), 866-889; doi:10.3390/microorganisms3040866

Hydrogen Sulfide in Physiology and Diseases of the Digestive Tract

Section of Gastroenterology, Medicine Service, New Mexico VA Health Care System, Albuquerque, NM 87108, USA
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Carl Gordon Johnston
Received: 1 September 2015 / Revised: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 4 November 2015 / Published: 12 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [346 KB, uploaded 12 November 2015]   |  


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a Janus-faced molecule. On one hand, several toxic functions have been attributed to H2S and exposure to high levels of this gas is extremely hazardous to health. On the other hand, H2S delivery based clinical therapies are being developed to combat inflammation, visceral pain, oxidative stress related tissue injury, thrombosis and cancer. Since its discovery, H2S has been found to have pleiotropic effects on physiology and health. H2S is a gasotransmitter that exerts its effect on different systems, such as gastrointestinal, neuronal, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and hepatic systems. In the gastrointestinal tract, in addition to H2S production by mammalian cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS), cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE), H2S is also generated by the metabolic activity of resident gut microbes, mainly by colonic Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria (SRB) via a dissimilatory sulfate reduction (DSR) pathway. In the gut, H2S regulates functions such as inflammation, ischemia/ reperfusion injury and motility. H2S derived from gut microbes has been found to be associated with gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. This underscores the importance of gut microbes and their production of H2S on host physiology and pathophysiology. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hydrogen sulfide; gastrointestinal tract; inflammation; Ischemia/reperfusion injury; motility; sulfate reducing bacteria; Desulfovibrio Hydrogen sulfide; gastrointestinal tract; inflammation; Ischemia/reperfusion injury; motility; sulfate reducing bacteria; Desulfovibrio

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Singh, S.B.; Lin, H.C. Hydrogen Sulfide in Physiology and Diseases of the Digestive Tract. Microorganisms 2015, 3, 866-889.

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