Three hundred years have passed since the first description of the toxicity of hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S). Three papers in 1989 and 1990 described relatively high concentrations of sulfide in the brain. In 1996 we demonstrated that cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) is a H(2)S producing enzyme in the brain and that H(2)S enhances the activity of NMDA receptors and facilitates the induction of hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), a synaptic model of memory. In the following year, we demonstrated that another H(2)S producing enzyme, cystathionine gamma-lyase is in the thoracic aorta, portal vein, and the ileum, and that H(2)S relaxes these tissues. Based on these observations we proposed H(2)S as a neuromodulator as well as a smooth muscle relaxant. We recently demonstrated that the third H(2)S-producing enzyme, 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (3MST) along with cysteine aminotransferase (CAT) produces H(2)S in the brain as well as in vascular endothelium. Various functions in many tissues have been proposed. H(2)S protects neurons and cardiac muscle from oxidative stress. H(2)S has pro- and anti-inflammatory effects, nociceptive effects, the regulatory function of insulin release, and is even involved in longevity. Recent progress in the studies of physiological functions of H(2)S in neurons and smooth muscle was described.