Redox chemistry and chemical biology of H2S, hydropersulfides, and derived species: implications of their possible biological activity and utility

Free Radic Biol Med. 2014 Dec;77:82-94. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.09.007. Epub 2014 Sep 16.


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenously generated and putative signaling/effector molecule. Despite its numerous reported functions, the chemistry by which it elicits its functions is not understood. Moreover, recent studies allude to the existence of other sulfur species besides H2S that may play critical physiological roles. Herein, the basic chemical biology of H2S as well as other related or derived species is discussed and reviewed. This review particularly focuses on the per- and polysulfides which are likely in equilibrium with free H2S and which may be important biological effectors themselves.

Keywords: Hydrogen sulfide; Persulfides; Polysulfides; Thiol redox; Thiols.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Cell Communication
  • Disulfides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Signal Transduction


  • Disulfides
  • Hydrogen Sulfide