Cysteine persulfide and cysteine polysulfides are cysteine derivatives having sulfane sulfur atoms bound to cysteine thiol. Accumulating evidence has suggested that cysteine persulfides/polysulfides are abundant in prokaryotes and eukaryotes and play important roles in diverse biological processes such as antioxidant host defense and redox-dependent signal transduction. Here, we show that enhancement of cellular polysulfides by using polysulfide donors developed in this study resulted in marked inhibition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-initiated macrophage activation. Polysulfide donor treatment strongly suppressed LPS-induced pro-inflammatory responses in macrophages by inhibiting Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling. Other TLR signaling stimulants-including zymosan A-TLR2 and poly(I:C)-TLR3-were also significantly suppressed by polysulfur donor treatment. Administration of polysulfide donors protected mice from lethal endotoxin shock. These data indicate that cellular polysulfides negatively regulate TLR4-mediated pro-inflammatory signaling and hence constitute a potential target for inflammatory disorders.
Keywords: cysteine persulfide; endotoxin shock; inflammation; innate immunity; metabolomics; polysulfide; signal transduction; sulfane sulfur; sulfur donor; toll-like receptors.
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