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Lab Invest. 2006 Apr;86(4):391-7.

Hydrogen sulfide prevents apoptosis of human PMN via inhibition of p38 and caspase 3.

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Department of Anatomy, Pharmacology and Forensic Medicine, Human Anatomy Section, University of Parma, Ospedale Maggiore, Parma, Italy.


Hydrogen sulfide, together with carbon monoxide and nitric oxide, is now considered a gasotransmitter able to induce specific cellular responses. As hydrogen sulfide is a component of several natural compounds known to be effective in many inflammatory pathologies, particularly of the respiratory tract, we studied its effects in vitro on the survival and bactericidal activity of purified human neutrophils. We found that (1) HS(-) ions promote the survival of granulocytes, but not that of lymphocytes or eosinophils, cultured in serum-free medium; (2) the pro-survival effect of HS(-) is due to inhibition of caspase-3 cleavage and p38 MAP kinase phosphorylation; (3) the bactericidal activity of neutrophils is not impaired by hydrogen sulfide. We conclude that HS(-) promotes the short-term survival of neutrophils potentially accelerating the resolution of inflammatory processes and preventing the occurrence of new ones.

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