Open Badges Commentary

Of mice and men (and sheep, swine etc.): The intriguing hemodynamic and metabolic effects of hydrogen sulfide (H2S)

Katja Wagner1, Michael Georgieff1, Pierre Asfar2, Enrico Calzia1, Markus W Knöferl3 and Peter Radermacher1*

Author Affiliations

1 Sektion Anästhesiologische Pathophysiologie und Verfahrensentwicklung, Klinik für Anästhesiologie, Universitätsklinikum Ulm, Parkstrasse 11, D-89081 Ulm, Germany

2 Laboratoire HIFIH, UPRES EA 3859, IFR 132, Université d'Angers, Département de Réanimation Médicale et de Médecine Hyperbare, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire, 4 rue Larrey, F-49035 Angers, France

3 Klinik für Unfall-, Hand-, Plastische und Wiederherstellungschirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Ulm, Steinhövelstrasse 9, D-89070 Ulm, Germany

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Critical Care 2011, 15:146  doi:10.1186/cc10079

Please see related research by Derwall et al.,

Published: 4 April 2011


Whether the hydrogen sulfide (H2S)-induced metabolic depression observed in awake rodents exists in larger species is controversial. Therefore, Derwall and colleagues exposed anesthetized and ventilated sheep to incremental H2S concentrations by means of an extracorporeal membrane oxygenator. H2S caused pulmonary vasoconstriction and metabolic acidosis at the highest concentration studied. Oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide production remained in the physiological range. The authors concluded that, beyond the effect of temperature, H2S hardly modifies metabolism at all. Since the highest H2S concentration caused toxic side effects (possibly due to an inhibition of mitochondrial respiration), the therapeutic use of inhaled H2S should be cautioned.