Supersulphides provide airway protection in viral and chronic lung diseases

Nat Commun. 2023 Jul 25;14(1):4476. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40182-4.


Supersulphides are inorganic and organic sulphides with sulphur catenation with diverse physiological functions. Their synthesis is mainly mediated by mitochondrial cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase (CARS2) that functions as a principal cysteine persulphide synthase (CPERS). Here, we identify protective functions of supersulphides in viral airway infections (influenza and COVID-19), in aged lungs and in chronic lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). We develop a method for breath supersulphur-omics and demonstrate that levels of exhaled supersulphides increase in people with COVID-19 infection and in a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Lung damage and subsequent lethality that result from oxidative stress and inflammation in mouse models of COPD, IPF, and ageing were mitigated by endogenous supersulphides production by CARS2/CPERS or exogenous administration of the supersulphide donor glutathione trisulphide. We revealed a protective role of supersulphides in airways with various viral or chronic insults and demonstrated the potential of targeting supersulphides in lung disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COVID-19*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis* / genetics
  • Lung
  • Mice
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2