Purpose of review: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a colorless gas that is endogenously generated in mammals from cysteine, has important biological functions. Within the vasculature it regulates vessel tone and outgrowth of new vessels. This review summarizes recent literature on H2S signaling in the vasculature and its therapeutic potential in vascular disorders
Recent findings: H2S is able to induce vasorelaxation via ATP-sensitive potassium channels in vascular smooth muscle cells. Large-conductance calcium-dependent K+-channels and Kv7 voltage-gated K+-channels are also involved in H2S signaling. Vascular endothelial growth factor is the key downstream mediator that is involved in H2S induced angiogenesis. By having both direct effects on its receptor and increasing the bioavailability of vascular endothelial growth factor, H2S is proangiogenic. H2S-based therapies in vascular diseases are an expanding area of research. The applications of several compounds, such as natural donors and synthetic slow release compounds, have been extensively studied in vascular diseases such as hypertension, ischemia-reperfusion disorders and preeclampsia.
Summary: H2S has a key role in vascular homeostasis during physiology and in pathological states. H2S-based therapies may have a role in several vascular diseases.