Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have revealed that hydrogen sulfide could play a key role in protecting blood vessels from the complications brought about by diabetes.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the gas, which smells like rotten eggs and is also known as swamp gas, investigated human endothelial cells from the innermost layer of blood vessels and also rats with diabetes, to show the importance of hydrogen sulfide levels in determining whether diabetes will cause blood vessel complications.
It is already known that the gas, which is produced by the body in only small amounts, can be an important factor in the circulatory system, but this research exposed the endothelial cells to high sugar levels as found in the blood vessels of someone with diabetes .
They also found that diabetic rats have smaller amounts of hydrogen sulfide in their circulatory systems than other animals, and that treating them for a month with hydrogen sulfide helped to improved how their blood vessels functioned.
Csaba Szabo, lead author on the study, commented “Low hydrogen sulfide levels accelerated this process, while constant replacement of hydrogen sulfide protected the cells against the toxic effects of high sugar.”
He added “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.”

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