Amino Acids

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 113–121 | Cite as

Hydrogen sulfide: its production, release and functions

  • Hideo KimuraEmail author
Review Article


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is a well-known toxic gas, has been recognized as a signal molecule as well as a cytoprotectant. It is produced by three enzymes, cystathionine β-synthase, cystathionine γ-lyase and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase along with cysteine aminotransferase. In addition to an immediate release of H2S from producing enzymes, it can be stored as bound sulfane sulfur, which may release H2S in response to physiological stimuli. As a signal molecule, it modulates neuronal transmission, relaxes smooth muscle, regulates release of insulin and is involved in inflammation. Because of its reputation as a toxic gas, the function as a cytoprotectant has been overlooked: the nervous system and cardiovascular system are protected from oxidative stress. In this review, enzymatic production, release mechanism and functions of H2S are focused on.


H2Cystathionine β-synthase Cystathionine γ-lyase 3-Mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase Bound sulfane sulfur Neuromodulator Neuroprotectant Cardioprotectant Smooth muscle relaxant EDRF 



This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Neuroscience.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of NeuroscienceKodairaJapan

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