Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists show 'swamp gas' protects blood vessels from complications of diabetes

Hydrogen sulfide is a foul-smelling gas with an odor resembling that of rotten eggs. Sometimes called "swamp gas," this toxic substance is generally associated with decaying vegetation, sewers and noxious industrial emissions.

And — as odd as it may seem — it also plays a critical role in protecting blood vessels from the complications of diabetes, according to a new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

In the last few years, work from several laboratories has shown that hydrogen sulfide is produced by the body in small amounts, and that this gas plays important roles in the circulatory system. In their new paper, published in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the UTMB researchers describe experiments with human endothelial cells (cells from the innermost layer of blood vessels) and diabetic rats that demonstrate the importance of hydrogen sulfide levels in determining whether diabetes will lead to blood vessel complications.

Dr. Szabo's team started by exposing endothelial cells to sugar at a concentration that mimicked a level found in the blood vessels of someone with diabetes. "Upon exposure to such high sugar levels, the cells started to produce increasing amounts of highly reactive toxic free radicals, and as a consequence, they began to die," said Dr. Csaba Szabo, a UTMB professor and the paper's lead author. "Low hydrogen sulfide levels accelerated this process, while constant replacement of hydrogen sulfide protected the cells against the toxic effects of high sugar."

The researchers went on to show that diabetic rats have lower levels of hydrogen sulfide in their circulatory systems than other animals. Furthermore, the team showed that treating diabetic rats for a month with hydrogen sulfide improved the function of their blood vessels.

"The loss of endothelial cell function in diabetes is a first step that leads to many complications, such as eye disease, heart disease, kidney disease, foot disease and others," Szabo said. "The observation that hydrogen sulfide can control an early checkpoint in all of these processes may open the door for new therapies."

The National Institutes of Health, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Shriners Hospital for Children supported this research.

ABOUT UTMB Health: Established in 1891, Texas' first academic health center comprises four health sciences schools, three institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout Galveston County and the Texas Gulf Coast region. UTMB Health is a component of the University of Texas System and a member of the Texas Medical Center.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Public Affairs Office
301 University Boulevard, Suite 3.102
Galveston, Texas 77555-0144

Jim Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>