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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Aug;1203:146-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05556.x.

Detection of hydrogen sulfide in plasma and knee-joint synovial fluid from rheumatoid arthritis patients: relation to clinical and laboratory measures of inflammation.

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Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, St. Luke's Campus, Magdalen Road, Exeter, Devon, UK.


Blood concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) are markedly elevated in several animal models of inflammation. Pharmacological inhibition of H(2)S synthesis reduces inflammation and swelling, suggesting that H(2)S is a potential inflammatory mediator. However, it is currently unknown whether H(2)S synthesis is perturbed in human inflammatory conditions or whether H(2)S is present in synovial fluid. We analyzed paired plasma and synovial fluid (SF) aspirates from rheumatoid arthritis (RA; n= 20) and osteoarthritis (OA; n= 4) patients and plasma from age matched healthy volunteers (n= 20). Median plasma H(2)S concentrations from healthy volunteers and RA and OA patients were 37.6, 36.6, and 37.6 microM, respectively. In RA patients, median synovial fluid H(2)S levels (62.4 microM) were significantly higher than paired plasma (P= 0.002) and significantly higher than in synovial fluid from OA patients (25.1 microM; P= 0.009). SF H(2)S levels correlated with clinical indices of disease activity (tender joint count, r= 0.651; P < 0.05) and markers of chronic inflammation; Europhile count (r=-0.566; P < 0.01) and total white cell count (r=-0.703; P < 0.01). Our study shows for the first time that H(2)S is present in synovial fluid and levels correlated with inflammatory and clinical indices in RA patients.

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