Oxidation of Hydrogen Sulfide to Polysulfide and Thiosulfate by a Carbon Nanozyme: Therapeutic Implications with an Emphasis on Down Syndrome

Adv Mater. 2024 Mar;36(10):e2211241. doi: 10.1002/adma.202211241. Epub 2023 Jul 23.


Hydrogen sulfide (H2 S) is a noxious, potentially poisonous, but necessary gas produced from sulfur metabolism in humans. In Down Syndrome (DS), the production of H2 S is elevated and associated with degraded mitochondrial function. Therefore, removing H2 S from the body as a stable oxide could be an approach to reducing the deleterious effects of H2 S in DS. In this report we describe the catalytic oxidation of hydrogen sulfide (H2 S) to polysulfides (HS2+n - ) and thiosulfate (S2 O3 2- ) by poly(ethylene glycol) hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCCs) and poly(ethylene glycol) oxidized activated charcoal (PEG-OACs), examples of oxidized carbon nanozymes (OCNs). We show that OCNs oxidize H2 S to polysulfides and S2 O3 2- in a dose-dependent manner. The reaction is dependent on O2 and the presence of quinone groups on the OCNs. In DS donor lymphocytes we found that OCNs increased polysulfide production, proliferation, and afforded protection against additional toxic levels of H2 S compared to untreated DS lymphocytes. Finally, in Dp16 and Ts65DN murine models of DS, we found that OCNs restored osteoclast differentiation. This new action suggests potential facile translation into the clinic for conditions involving excess H2 S exemplified by DS.

Keywords: catalysis; hydrogen sulfide; nanozyme; translational research.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon
  • Down Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide*
  • Mice
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Polyethylene Glycols / metabolism
  • Sulfides
  • Thiosulfates / metabolism


  • polysulfide
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Thiosulfates
  • Carbon
  • Sulfides
  • Polyethylene Glycols