Detection of exhaled hydrogen sulphide gas in rats exposed to intravenous sodium sulphide

Michael A. Insko, Thomas L. Deckwerth, Paul Hill, Christopher F. Toombs, Csaba Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: Sodium sulphide (Na 2S) disassociates to sodium (Na +) hydrosulphide, anion (HS -) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) in aqueous solutions. Here we have established and characterized a method to detect H2S gas in the exhaled breath of rats. Experimental approach: Male rats were anaesthetized with ketamine and xylazine, instrumented with intravenous (i.v.) jugular vein catheters, and a tube inserted into the trachea was connected to a pneumotach connected to a H2S gas detector. Sodium sulphide, cysteine or the natural polysulphide compound diallyl disulphide were infused intravenously while the airway was monitored for exhaled H2S real time. Key results: Exhaled sulphide concentration was calculated to be in the range of 0.4-11 ppm in response to i.v. infusion rates ranging between 0.3 and 1.1 mg-kg-1-min-1. When nitric oxide synthesis was inhibited with Nw-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester the amount of H2S exhaled during i.v. infusions of sodium sulphide was significantly increased compared with that obtained with the vehicle control. An increase in circulating nitric oxide using DETA NONOate [3,3-bis(aminoethyl)-1-hydroxy-2-oxo-1-triazene] did not alter the levels of exhaled H2S during an i.v. infusion of sodium sulphide. An i.v. bolus of L-cysteine, 1 g-kg-1, and an i.v. infusion of the garlic derived natural compound diallyl disulphide, 1.8 mg-kg-1-min-1, also caused exhalation of H2S gas.Conclusions and implications: This method has shown that significant amounts of H2S are exhaled in rats during sodium sulphide infusions, and the amount exhaled can be modulated by various pharmacological interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-951
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • DADS
  • Hydrogen sulphide
  • L-cysteine
  • Nitric oxide
  • NOS inhibition
  • Sodium sulphide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Detection of exhaled hydrogen sulphide gas in rats exposed to intravenous sodium sulphide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this