Affiliation: Department of Pathology, University of Otago, 2 Riccarton Avenue, PO Box 4345, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gaseous molecule that is produced by the body. Elevated levels of H2S can result in a number of physiological responses. The specific mechanisms in which H2S directly facilitates these responses have not yet been well characterized, however, it has recently been established that sulfhydration of proteins is integral to the effects of H2S. A growing field of research is the development of new drugs which suppress endogenous hydrogen sulfide synthesis, as well as novel H2S donors. Evidence suggests that modulation of the H2S signaling system may be an excellent therapeutic approach for a range of clinical conditions including heart failure, inflammatory diseases, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, gastrointestinal diseases and cancer. In this review, we describe an overview of the physiological and pathophysiological roles of H2S. We further discuss the current research of H2S modulating drugs and suggest potential approaches for the continued development of novel drugs.