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PhD ceremony Mr. E.M. Bos: Therapeutic properties of hydrogen sulfide in ischemia / reperfusion injury

When:Mo 30-09-2013 at 16:15

PhD ceremony: Mr. E.M. Bos, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Therapeutic properties of hydrogen sulfide in ischemia / reperfusion injury

Promotor(s): prof. H. van Goor, prof. R.J. Ploeg

Faculty: Medical Sciences

The gas hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is known for its penetrant odor – that of rotten eggs – and its toxic properties. Recently, newly found features of H2S produced by the body have resulted in renewed scientific interest.

Our research focused on a remarkable effect of H2S: it can induce a hibernation-like state in mice, during which oxygen consumption is reduced by more than 90%. We used this effect to protect organs during periods of oxygen deprivation, like the hypoxia that occurs during organ transplantation. When inducing this hibernation-like state with H2S, the kidneys, livers and hearts that were temporarily without blood supply (ischemia or reperfusion injury) showed largely reduced amounts of damage.

We also investigated whether cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE), one of the H2S-producing proteins in the body, influenced ischemia/reperfusion injury. We used mice that do not produce CSE in the body, and therefor little H2S, and compared them to normal mice. We showed that mice missing CSE had increased amounts of damage after ischemia, which indicates that CSE is involved in the protection against hypoxia. Also, the amount of CSE in human kidney transplants was associated with a better renal function after transplantation. This points to a role for endogenously produced H2S in the protection against oxygen deprivation.

This research may lead to novel therapies involving H2S as a protective substance during periods of hypoxia, such as during organ transplantation, and may lead to a better functioning of transplanted organs.

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