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Toxin Gas Turns Out to be Remedy for Heart Failure!

Posted Dec 11 2008 9:13pm
Being a leading cause of hospitalization for the elderly, heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscle cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. This can be caused by previous injury to the heart muscle from a heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity.

Hydrogen sulfide is colorless and highly toxic. It is a flammable gas that not only has rotten-egg smell, but also is potentially dangerous for miners and sewer workers.

In a recent study, researchers from Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, Georgia found that small dose of hydrogen sulfide helps protect laboratory mice from heart failure through its ability to regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

The findings, presented in November 2008 at the American Heart Association's annual conference meeting at New Orleans, Louisiana, revealed that hydrogen sulfide appears to stimulate heart muscle cells and produce their own antioxidants and molecules that stave off programmed cell death caused by loss of blood flow.

In order to create a model of cardiac failure, the researchers blocked the laboratory mice’s left coronary arteries either temporarily for an hour or permanently to cause part of their heart muscles to die. Then, some of the mice were treated with a solution of hydrogen sulfide administered intravenously once a day for a week, while others left untreated to become the control group.

After a period of 4 weeks, researchers tested both groups’ heart capacity through their ‘ejection fraction’, a measure of heart function. Mice treated with the toxic gas showed an ejection fraction of 33 percent higher than those mice in the control group (36 percent compared to 27 percent).

Such results indicated that hydrogen sulfide can actually blunt the impact of heart failure on heart function and mortality in a mouse model of heart failure, and it is hoped that such experimental treatment could benefit humans one day.
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