Why can hydrogen sulfide permeate cell membranes?

J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Oct 29;136(43):15111-3. doi: 10.1021/ja508063s. Epub 2014 Oct 21.


The high membrane permeability of H2S was studied using polarizable molecular dynamics simulations of a DPPC lipid bilayer. The solubility-diffusion model predicts permeability coefficients of H2S and H2O that are in good agreement with experiment. The computed diffusion coefficient profile shows H2S to diffuse at a lower rate than H2O, but the barrier for H2S permeation on the Gibbs energy profile is negligible. The hydrophobicity of H2S allows it to partition into the paraffinic interior of the membrane readily.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / metabolism*
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Thermodynamics
  • Water / chemistry


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Water
  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine
  • Hydrogen Sulfide