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Special Issue "Endogenous Gaseous Signaling Molecules: Their Mechanism(s) of Action and Pharmacological Effects"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pharmacology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marcin Magierowski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physiology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland
Interests: gaseous mediators; hydrogen sulfide; carbon monoxide; molecular gastroenterology; gastrointestinal pharmacology; Barrett’s esophagus; digestive system pathologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Binghe Wang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
Interests: drug design; organic synthesis; drug delivery; computational chemistry; drug screening; instrument analysis; cell culture; biochemistry; enzyme inhibition; fluorescent sensing; click chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Endogenously produced gaseous signaling molecules such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO) have been shown to exert anti-inflammatory, vasoactive and anti-oxidative effects, among many other properties. Their pleiotropic effects raise an intriguing question about their mechanism(s) of action (MOA(s)). CO is known to affect the synthesis of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) via the activation of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), inhibit CBS and cytochrome c oxidase, and affect ion channels. Similarly, NO diffuses from the endothelium to smooth muscle, located in the vascular wall, where it also activates sGC, leading to a rise in cGMP levels. H2S, on the other hand, is an anti-oxidant and seems to affect ATP-dependent potassium ion channels. These are just examples of their MOAs. Moreover, H2S-releasing hybrids of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to reduce the gastrointestinal side effects and gastrotoxicity characteristic of the parent drugs. Therefore, a variety of CO, H2S and NO donors have been developed and are now available for preclinical pharmacological assessment. Some of these compounds are currently at the stage of clinical trials. However, there is much more to be done in developing pharmaceutically acceptable donors of these gaseous signaling molecules and in understanding the MOAs for their pleiotropic effects.

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences aims to gather articles focused on recent developments in the study of H2S, NO or CO, either produced endogenously or delivered from pharmaceutical donors, in health and disease. Review articles or manuscripts on original research regarding H2S, CO or NO donors, the cross-talk among these signaling molecules, or their novel mechanisms are within the scope of this Special Issue.

Dr. Marcin Magierowski
Prof. Dr. Binghe Wang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • hydrogen sulfide
  • carbon monoxide
  • nitric oxide
  • molecular pharmacology
  • donors
  • prodrugs

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Investigation of H2S Donor Treatment on Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in Experimental Colitis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312729 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 191
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic, immune-mediated disorders, which affect the gastrointestinal tract with intermittent ulceration. It is increasingly clear that neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) seem to have a role in IBD; however, the associated pathogenesis is still not known. Furthermore, several conventional [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic, immune-mediated disorders, which affect the gastrointestinal tract with intermittent ulceration. It is increasingly clear that neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) seem to have a role in IBD; however, the associated pathogenesis is still not known. Furthermore, several conventional therapies are available against IBD, although these might have side effects. Our current study aimed to investigate the effects of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) treatment on NETs formation and on the expression of inflammatory mediators in experimental rat colitis. To model IBD, 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS) was administered intracolonically (i.c.) to Wistar–Harlan male rats. Animals were treated (2 times/day) with H2S donor Lawesson’s reagent per os. Our results showed that H2S treatment significantly decreased the extent of colonic lesions. Furthermore, the expression of members of NETs formation: peptidyl arginine deiminase 4 (PAD4), citrullinated histone H3 (citH3), myeloperoxidase (MPO) and inflammatory regulators, such as nuclear transcription factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) were reduced in H2S treated group compared to TNBS. Additionally, H2S donor administration elevated the expression of ubiquitin C-terminal hydroxylase L1 (UCHL-1), a potential anti-inflammatory mediator. Taken together, our results showed that H2S may exert anti-inflammatory effect through the inhibition of NETs formation, which suggests a new therapeutic approach against IBD. Full article
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Article
The Slow-Releasing and Mitochondria-Targeted Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Delivery Molecule AP39 Induces Brain Tolerance to Ischemia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(15), 7816; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22157816 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Ischemic stroke is the third leading cause of death in the world, which accounts for almost 12% of the total deaths worldwide. Despite decades of research, the available and effective pharmacotherapy is limited. Some evidence underlines the beneficial properties of hydrogen sulfide (H [...] Read more.
Ischemic stroke is the third leading cause of death in the world, which accounts for almost 12% of the total deaths worldwide. Despite decades of research, the available and effective pharmacotherapy is limited. Some evidence underlines the beneficial properties of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) donors, such as NaSH, in an animal model of brain ischemia and in in vitro research; however, these data are ambiguous. This study was undertaken to verify the neuroprotective activity of AP39, a slow-releasing mitochondria-targeted H2S delivery molecule. We administered AP39 for 7 days prior to ischemia onset, and the potential to induce brain tolerance to ischemia was verified. To do this, we used the rat model of 90-min middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and used LC-MS/MS, RT-PCR, LuminexTM assays, Western blot and immunofluorescent double-staining to determine the absolute H2S levels, inflammatory markers, neurotrophic factor signaling pathways and apoptosis marker in the ipsilateral frontal cortex, hippocampus and in the dorsal striatum 24 h after ischemia onset. AP39 (50 nmol/kg) reduced the infarct volume, neurological deficit and reduced the microglia marker (Iba1) expression. AP39 also exerted prominent anti-inflammatory activity in reducing the release of Il-1β, Il-6 and TNFα in brain areas particularly affected by ischemia. Furthermore, AP39 enhanced the pro-survival pathways of neurotrophic factors BDNF-TrkB and NGF-TrkA and reduced the proapoptotic proNGF-p75NTR-sortilin pathway activity. These changes corresponded with reduced levels of cleaved caspase 3. Altogether, AP39 treatment induced adaptative changes within the brain and, by that, developed brain tolerance to ischemia. Full article
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Article
Novel Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)-Releasing BW-HS-101 and Its Non-H2S Releasing Derivative in Modulation of Microscopic and Molecular Parameters of Gastric Mucosal Barrier
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(10), 5211; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22105211 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1407
Abstract
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenously produced molecule with anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties. We aimed to investigate for the first time if a novel, esterase-sensitive H2S-prodrug, BW-HS-101 with the ability to release H2S in a controllable manner, [...] Read more.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenously produced molecule with anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties. We aimed to investigate for the first time if a novel, esterase-sensitive H2S-prodrug, BW-HS-101 with the ability to release H2S in a controllable manner, prevents gastric mucosa against acetylsalicylic acid-induced gastropathy on microscopic and molecular levels. Wistar rats were pretreated intragastrically with vehicle, BW-HS-101 (0.5–50 μmol/kg) or its analogue without the ability to release H2S, BW-iHS-101 prior to ASA administration (125 mg/kg, intragastrically). BW-HS-101 was administered alone or in combination with nitroarginine (L-NNA, 20 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) or zinc protoporphyrin IX (10 mg/kg, intraperitoneally). Gastroprotective effects of BW-HS-101 were additionally evaluated against necrotic damage induced by intragastrical administration of 75% ethanol. Gastric mucosal damage was assessed microscopically, and gastric blood flow was determined by laser flowmetry. Gastric mucosal DNA oxidation and PGE2 concentration were assessed by ELISA. Serum and/or gastric protein concentrations of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-13, VEGF, GM-CSF, IFN-γ, TNF-α, and EGF were determined by a microbeads/fluorescent-based multiplex assay. Changes in gastric mucosal iNOS, HMOX-1, SOCS3, IL1-R1, IL1-R2, TNF-R2, COX-1, and COX-2 mRNA were assessed by real-time PCR. BW-HS-101 or BW-iHS-101 applied at a dose of 50 μmol/kg protected gastric mucosa against ASA-induced gastric damage and prevented a decrease in the gastric blood flow level. H2S prodrug decreased DNA oxidation, systemic and gastric mucosal inflammation with accompanied upregulation of SOCS3, and EGF and HMOX-1 expression. Pharmacological inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) synthase but not carbon monoxide (CO)/heme oxygenase (HMOX) activity by L-NNA or ZnPP, respectively, reversed the gastroprotective effect of BW-HS-101. BW-HS-101 also protected against ethanol-induced gastric injury formation. We conclude that BW-HS-101, due to its ability to release H2S in a controllable manner, prevents gastric mucosa against drugs-induced gastropathy, inflammation and DNA oxidation, and upregulate gastric microcirculation. Gastroprotective effects of this H2S prodrug involves endogenous NO but not CO activity and could be mediated by cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory SOCS3 and EGF pathways. Full article
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Article
Implication of a Key Region of Six Bacillus cereus Genes Involved in Siroheme Synthesis, Nitrite Reductase Production and Iron Cluster Repair in the Bacterial Response to Nitric Oxide Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(10), 5079; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22105079 - 11 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 590
Abstract
Bacterial response to nitric oxide (NO) is of major importance for bacterial survival. NO stress is a main actor of the eukaryotic immune response and several pathogenic bacteria have developed means for detoxification and repair of the damages caused by NO. However, bacterial [...] Read more.
Bacterial response to nitric oxide (NO) is of major importance for bacterial survival. NO stress is a main actor of the eukaryotic immune response and several pathogenic bacteria have developed means for detoxification and repair of the damages caused by NO. However, bacterial mechanisms of NO resistance by Gram-positive bacteria are poorly described. In the opportunistic foodborne pathogen Bacillus cereus, genome sequence analyses did not identify homologs to known NO reductases and transcriptional regulators, such as NsrR, which orchestrate the response to NO of other pathogenic or non-pathogenic bacteria. Using a transcriptomic approach, we investigated the adaptation of B. cereus to NO stress. A cluster of 6 genes was identified to be strongly up-regulated in the early phase of the response. This cluster contains an iron-sulfur cluster repair enzyme, a nitrite reductase and three enzymes involved in siroheme biosynthesis. The expression pattern and close genetic localization suggest a functional link between these genes, which may play a pivotal role in the resistance of B. cereus to NO stress during infection. Full article
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Article
Fructose Intake Impairs the Synergistic Vasomotor Manifestation of Nitric Oxide and Hydrogen Sulfide in Rat Aorta
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(9), 4749; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22094749 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 490
Abstract
In this study, we evaluated the effect of eight weeks of administration of 10% fructose solution to adult Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats on systolic blood pressure (SBP), plasma and biometric parameters, vasoactive properties of the thoracic aorta (TA), NO synthase (NOS) activity, and [...] Read more.
In this study, we evaluated the effect of eight weeks of administration of 10% fructose solution to adult Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats on systolic blood pressure (SBP), plasma and biometric parameters, vasoactive properties of the thoracic aorta (TA), NO synthase (NOS) activity, and the expression of enzymes producing NO and H2S. Eight weeks of fructose administration did not affect SBP, glycaemia, or the plasma levels of total cholesterol or low-density and high-density lipoprotein; however, it significantly increased the plasma levels of γ-glutamyl transferase and alanine transaminase. Chronic fructose intake deteriorated endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation (EDVR) and increased the sensitivity of adrenergic receptors to noradrenaline. Acute NOS inhibition evoked a reduction in EDVR that was similar between groups; however, it increased adrenergic contraction more in fructose-fed rats. CSE inhibition decreased EDVR in WKY but not in fructose-fed rats. The application of a H2S scavenger evoked a reduction in the EDVR in WKY rats and normalized the sensitivity of adrenergic receptors in rats treated with fructose. Fructose intake did not change NOS activity but reduced the expression of eNOS and CBS in the TA and CSE and CBS in the left ventricle. Based on our results, we could assume that the impaired vascular function induced by increased fructose intake was probably not directly associated with a decreased production of NO, but rather with impairment of the NO–H2S interaction and its manifestation in vasoactive responses. Full article
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Article
Distinct Pharmacological Properties of Gaseous CO and CO-Releasing Molecule in Human Platelets
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3584; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073584 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 761
Abstract
Carbon monoxide (CO)—gaseous or released by CO-RMs—both possess antiplatelet properties; however, it remains uncertain whether the mechanisms involved are the same. Here, we characterise the involvement of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) in the effects of CO—delivered by gaseous CO–saturated buffer (COG) [...] Read more.
Carbon monoxide (CO)—gaseous or released by CO-RMs—both possess antiplatelet properties; however, it remains uncertain whether the mechanisms involved are the same. Here, we characterise the involvement of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) in the effects of CO—delivered by gaseous CO–saturated buffer (COG) and generated by CORM-A1—on platelet aggregation and energy metabolism, as well as on vasodilatation in aorta, using light transmission aggregometry, Seahorse XFe technique, and wire myography, respectively. ODQ completely prevented the inhibitory effect of COG on platelet aggregation, but did not modify antiplatelet effect of CORM-A1. In turn, COG did not affect, whereas CORM-A1 substantially inhibited energy metabolism in platelets. Even though activation of sGC by BAY 41-2272 or BAY 58-2667 inhibited significantly platelet aggregation, their effects on energy metabolism in platelets were absent or weak and could not contribute to antiplatelet effects of sGC activation. In contrast, vasodilatation of murine aortic rings, induced either by COG or CORM-A1, was dependent on sGC. We conclude that the source (COG vs. CORM-A1) and kinetics (rapid vs. slow) of CO delivery represent key determinants of the mechanism of antiplatelet action of CO, involving either impairment of energy metabolism or activation of sGG. Full article
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Review

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Review
Impact of Hydrogen Sulfide on Mitochondrial and Bacterial Bioenergetics
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12688; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312688 - 24 Nov 2021
Viewed by 275
Abstract
This review focuses on the effects of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) on the unique bioenergetic molecular machines in mitochondria and bacteria—the protein complexes of electron transport chains and associated enzymes. H2S, along with nitric oxide and carbon monoxide, belongs to [...] Read more.
This review focuses on the effects of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) on the unique bioenergetic molecular machines in mitochondria and bacteria—the protein complexes of electron transport chains and associated enzymes. H2S, along with nitric oxide and carbon monoxide, belongs to the class of endogenous gaseous signaling molecules. This compound plays critical roles in physiology and pathophysiology. Enzymes implicated in H2S metabolism and physiological actions are promising targets for novel pharmaceutical agents. The biological effects of H2S are biphasic, changing from cytoprotection to cytotoxicity through increasing the compound concentration. In mammals, H2S enhances the activity of FoF1-ATP (adenosine triphosphate) synthase and lactate dehydrogenase via their S-sulfhydration, thereby stimulating mitochondrial electron transport. H2S serves as an electron donor for the mitochondrial respiratory chain via sulfide quinone oxidoreductase and cytochrome c oxidase at low H2S levels. The latter enzyme is inhibited by high H2S concentrations, resulting in the reversible inhibition of electron transport and ATP production in mitochondria. In the branched respiratory chain of Escherichia coli, H2S inhibits the bo3 terminal oxidase but does not affect the alternative bd-type oxidases. Thus, in E. coli and presumably other bacteria, cytochrome bd permits respiration and cell growth in H2S-rich environments. A complete picture of the impact of H2S on bioenergetics is lacking, but this field is fast-moving, and active ongoing research on this topic will likely shed light on additional, yet unknown biological effects. Full article
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Review
Hydrogen Sulfide Metabolite, Sodium Thiosulfate: Clinical Applications and Underlying Molecular Mechanisms
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(12), 6452; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22126452 - 16 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 786
Abstract
Thiosulfate in the form of sodium thiosulfate (STS) is a major oxidation product of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), an endogenous signaling molecule and the third member of the gasotransmitter family. STS is currently used in the clinical treatment of acute cyanide poisoning, [...] Read more.
Thiosulfate in the form of sodium thiosulfate (STS) is a major oxidation product of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), an endogenous signaling molecule and the third member of the gasotransmitter family. STS is currently used in the clinical treatment of acute cyanide poisoning, cisplatin toxicities in cancer therapy, and calciphylaxis in dialysis patients. Burgeoning evidence show that STS has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential therapeutic candidate molecule that can target multiple molecular pathways in various diseases and drug-induced toxicities. This review discusses the biochemical and molecular pathways in the generation of STS from H2S, its clinical usefulness, and potential clinical applications, as well as the molecular mechanisms underlying these clinical applications and a future perspective in kidney transplantation. Full article
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Review
Carbon Monoxide and Nitric Oxide as Examples of the Youngest Class of Transmitters
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(11), 6029; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22116029 - 02 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 874
Abstract
The year 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the confirmation of the neurotransmission phenomenon by Otto Loewi. Over the course of the hundred years, about 100 neurotransmitters belonging to many chemical groups have been discovered. In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of [...] Read more.
The year 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the confirmation of the neurotransmission phenomenon by Otto Loewi. Over the course of the hundred years, about 100 neurotransmitters belonging to many chemical groups have been discovered. In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the confirmation of neurotransmitters, we present an overview of the first two endogenous gaseous transmitters i.e., nitric oxide, and carbon monoxide, which are often termed as gasotransmitters. Full article
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