The Uptake and Release of Polysulfur Cysteine Species by Cells: Physiological and Toxicological Implications

Joseph Lin, Masahiro Akiyama, Iris Bica, Faith T. Long, Catherine F. Henderson, Robert N. Goddu, Valeria Suarez, Blaine Baker, Tomoaki Ida, Yasuhiro Shinkai, Peter Nagy, Takaaki Akaike, Jon M. Fukuto, Yoshito Kumagai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Hydropersulfides and related polysulfides have recently become topics of significant interest due to their physiological prevalence and proposed biological functions. Currently, examination of the effects of hydropersulfide treatment on cells is difficult due to their lack of inherent stability with respect to disproportionation. Herein, it is reported that the treatment of a variety of cell types with cysteine trisulfide (also known as thiocystine; Cys-SSS-Cys), results in an increase in intracellular hydropersulfide levels (e.g., cysteine hydropersulfide; Cys-SSH, and glutathione hydropersulfide; GSSH). Thus, Cys-SSS-Cys represents a possible pharmacological agent for examining the effects of hydropersulfides on cell function/viability. It has also been found that cells with increased intracellular hydropersulfide levels can export Cys-SSH into the extracellular media. Interestingly, the Cys-SSH is the major hydropersulfide exported by cells, although GSSH is the predominant intracellular species. The possible implications of cellular export are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-455
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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