Signaling mechanisms involved in the intestinal pro-secretory actions of hydrogen sulfide


Address for Correspondence
Michael Schemann, Human Biology, Technische Universität München, Liesel-Beckmann-Strasse 4, D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany.
Tel: +49 8161 71 5483; fax: +49 8161 71 5785;


Background  H2S actions in the gut involve neural activation. This study aimed to reveal the signaling mechanisms responsible for the pro-secretory effect of H2S by using TRPV1 and unselective TRP blockers and inhibitors of other signaling cascades hitherto described to be targeted by H2S elsewhere.

Methods  Ussing chamber voltage clamp technique was used to study actions of the H2S donor NaHS on secretion in guinea-pig and human colon. NaHS effects on guinea-pig primary afferents were also evaluated.

Key Results  NaHS evoked secretion was significantly reduced in guinea-pig and human tissue by the selective TRPV1 blockers capsazepine, AMG9801, SB705498, BCTC; LY294002 (Phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitor), SKF96365 (store operated calcium channel blocker), 2-APB (inositol triphosphate blocker), and atropine but not by HC030031 (TRPA1 blocker) or L- and T-type calcium channel antagonists. Actions of TRPV1 antagonists suggested non-competitive inhibition at multiple sites. In guinea-pig colon, Gd3+and La3+ (unselective TRP blockers) had no effects while ruthenium red reduced NaHS effects; in human colon Gd3+attenuated NaHS response. NaHS response was inhibited by neurokinin-1 and -3 receptor blockers in guinea-pig and neurokinin-1 and -2 receptor blockade in human tissue. There was cross-desensitization between NaHS and capsaicin responses. NaHS induced capsazepine and LY294002 sensitive afferent discharge.

Conclusions & Inferences  H2S evokes mucosal secretion by targeting TRPV1 expressing afferent nerves which activate cholinergic secretomotor neurons via release of substance P acting in a species dependent manner on neurokinin-1, -2 or -3 receptors. Besides TRPV1 signaling H2S may target intracellular calcium dependent pathways and PI3K.