Biology and therapeutic potential of hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen sulfide-releasing chimeras

Biochem Pharmacol. 2013 Mar 1;85(5):689-703. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2012.10.019. Epub 2012 Oct 24.


Hydrogen sulfide, H2S, is a colorless gas with a strong odor that until recently was only considered to be a toxic environmental pollutant with little or no physiological significance. However, the past few years have demonstrated its role in many biological systems and it is becoming increasingly clear that H2S is likely to join nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO) as a major player in mammalian biology. In this review, we have provided an overview of the chemistry and biology of H2S and have summarized the chemistry and biological activity of some natural and synthetic H2S-donating compounds. The naturally occurring compounds discussed include, garlic, sulforaphane, erucin, and iberin. The synthetic H2S donors reviewed include, GYY4137; cysteine analogs; S-propyl cysteine, S-allyl cysteine, S-propargyl cysteine, and N-acetyl cysteine. Dithiolethione and its NSAID and other chimeras such as, L-DOPA, sildenafil, aspirin, diclofenac, naproxen, ibuprofen, indomethacin, and mesalamine have also been reviewed in detail. The newly reported NOSH-aspirin that releases both NO and H2S has also been discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Chemoprevention
  • Chimera / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / pharmacology*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Hydrogen Sulfide