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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e25943. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025943. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

Hydrogen sulfide attenuates carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity, liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension in rats.

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Department of General Surgery, The Hepatosplenic Surgery Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China.



Hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) displays vasodilative, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective activities. Impaired production of H(2)S contributes to the increased intrahepatic resistance in cirrhotic livers. The study aimed to investigate the roles of H(2)S in carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4))-induced hepatotoxicity, cirrhosis and portal hypertension.


Sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS), a donor of H(2)S, and DL-propargylglycine (PAG), an irreversible inhibitor of cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE), were applied to the rats to investigate the effects of H(2)S on CCl(4)-induced acute hepatotoxicity, cirrhosis and portal hypertension by measuring serum levels of H(2)S, hepatic H(2)S producing activity and CSE expression, liver function, activity of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2E1, oxidative and inflammatory parameters, liver fibrosis and portal pressure. CCl(4) significantly reduced serum levels of H(2)S, hepatic H(2)S production and CSE expression. NaHS attenuated CCl(4)-induced acute hepatotoxicity by supplementing exogenous H(2)S, which displayed anti-oxidative activities and inhibited the CYP2E1 activity. NaHS protected liver function, attenuated liver fibrosis, inhibited inflammation, and reduced the portal pressure, evidenced by the alterations of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), hyaluronic acid (HA), albumin, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, liver histology, hepatic hydroxyproline content and α-smooth muscle actin (SMA) expression. PAG showed opposing effects to NaHS on most of the above parameters.


Exogenous H(2)S attenuates CCl(4)-induced hepatotoxicity, liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension by its multiple functions including anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation, cytoprotection and anti-fibrosis, indicating that targeting H(2)S may present a promising approach, particularly for its prophylactic effects, against liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension.

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