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BACKGROUND: Hydrogen sulphide is a gas signalling molecule which is produced endogenously from L-cysteine via the enzymes cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) and cystathionine gamma-lyase (CSE). The possible role of hydrogen sulphide in reproduction has not yet been fully investigated. It has been previously demonstrated that hydrogen sulphide relaxes uterine smooth muscle in vitro. The aim of the present study was to investigate the endogenous production of hydrogen sulphide in rat and human intrauterine tissues in vitro. METHODS: The production of hydrogen sulphide in rat and human intrauterine tissues was measured in vitro using a standard technique. The expression of CBS and CSE was also investigated in rat and human intrauterine tissues via Western blotting. Furthermore, the effects of nitric oxide (NO) and low oxygen conditions on the production rates of hydrogen sulphide were investigated. RESULTS: The order of hydrogen sulphide production rates (mean +/- SD, n = 4) for rat tissues were: liver (777 +/- 163 nM/min/g) > uterus (168 +/- 100 nM/min/g) > fetal membranes (22.3 +/- 15.0 nM/min/g) > placenta (11.1 +/- 4.7 nM/min/g), compared to human placenta (200 +/- 102 nM/min/g). NO significantly increased hydrogen sulphide production in rat fetal membranes (P < 0.05). Under low oxygen conditions the production of hydrogen sulphide was significantly elevated in human placenta, rat liver, uterus and fetal membranes (P < 0.05). Western blotting (n = 4) detected the expression of CBS and CSE in all rat intrauterine tissues, and in human placenta, myometrium, amnion and chorion. CONCLUSION: Rat and human intrauterine tissues produce hydrogen sulphide in vitro possibly via CBS and CSE enzymes. NO increased the production of hydrogen sulphide in rat fetal membranes. The augmentation of hydrogen sulphide production in human intrauterine tissues in a low oxygen environment could have a role in pathophysiology of pregnancy.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/1477-7827-7-10

Type

Journal article

Journal

Reprod Biol Endocrinol

Publication Date

06/02/2009

Volume

7

Keywords

Amnion, Animals, Blotting, Western, Chorion, Cystathionine beta-Synthase, Cystathionine gamma-Lyase, Extraembryonic Membranes, Female, Humans, Hydrogen Sulfide, Liver, Myometrium, Nitric Oxide, Oxygen, Placenta, Pregnancy, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley