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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 22, 2014

Neuroprotective effects of hydrogen sulfide and the underlying signaling pathways

Wen-Lin Chen, Ying-Ying Niu, Wei-Zheng Jiang, Hui-Lan Tang, Chong Zhang, Qi-Ming Xia and Xiao-Qing Tang


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenously produced gas that represents a novel third gaseous signaling molecule, neurotransmitter and cytoprotectant. Cystathionine β-synthase (CBS), cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE), 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfur transferase with cysteine aminotransferase (3-MST/CAT) and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfur transferase with d-amino acid oxidase (3-MST/DAO) pathways are involved in the generation of endogenous H2S despite the ubiquitous or restricted distribution of those enzymes. CBS, 3-MST/CAT and 3-MST/DAO can be found in the brain, while CSE is widely located in other organs. There also exist up-taking or recycling and scavenging mechanisms in H2S metabolism to maintain its persistence for physiological function. In recent years, investigating the role that H2S plays in the central nervous system and cardiovascular system has always been a hotspot. To date, effects of H2S are at least partially verified in multiple animal models or neuron cell lines of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral ischemia, major depression disorders and febrile seizure, although subsequent studies are still badly needed. This article presents an overview of current knowledge of H2S focusing on its neuroprotective effects and corresponding signaling pathways, together with connections to potential therapeutic strategies in the clinic.

Corresponding author: Xiao-Qing Tang, Institute of Neuroscience, Medical College, University of South China, 28 W Changsheng Road, Hengyang, Hunan, P. R. China, e-mail:


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81371485 and 81200985), Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province, China (11JJ3117 and 12JJ9032), Project of Research-based Learning and Innovative Experiment for Undergraduate Student in Hunan Province (2011-199) and the construct program of the key discipline in Hunan province.


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Received: 2014-7-25
Accepted: 2014-10-1
Published Online: 2014-12-22
Published in Print: 2015-4-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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