Mechanism of action of hydrogen sulfide on cyclic AMP formation in rat retinal pigment epithelial cells

Ya Fatou Njie-Mbye, Madhura Kulkarni, Catherine A. Opere, Sunny E. Ohia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Hydrogen sulfide (H 2S), a colorless gas with the pungent odor of rotten eggs has been reported to produce pharmacological actions in ocular and non-ocular tissues. We have evidence that H 2S, using sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) and sodium sulfide (Na 2S) as donors can increase cyclic AMP (cAMP) production in neural retina. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism of action of H 2S on cyclic nucleotide production in rat retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE-J). Cultured RPE-J cells were incubated for 30min in culture medium containing the cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor, IBMX (2mM). Cells were exposed to varying concentrations of NaHS, the H 2S substrate (l-cysteine), cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors or the diterpene activator of adenylate cyclase, forskolin in the presence or absence of H 2S biosynthetic enzymes or the ATP-sensitive potassium (K ATP) channel antagonist, glibenclamide. Following drug-treatment at different time intervals, cell homogenates were prepared for cAMP assay using a well established methodology. In RPE-J cells, NaHS (10nM-1μM) produced a time-dependent increase in cAMP concentrations over basal levels which reached a maximum at 20min. At this time point, both NaHS (1nM-100μM) and l-cysteine (1nM-10μM) produced a concentration-dependent significant (pATP channel antagonist, glibenclamide (100μM) caused inhibition of NaHS induced-increase of cAMP formation in RPE-J cells. We conclude that, H 2S (using H 2S donor and substrate) can increase cAMP production in RPE-J cells, and removal of the apparent inhibitory effect of prostaglandins unmasks an excitatory activity of H 2S on cAMP. Effects elicited by the H 2S substrate on cAMP formation are dependent on biosynthesis of H 2S catalyzed by the biosynthetic enzymes, CBS and CSE. In addition to the adenylyl cylcase pathway, K ATP channels are involved in mediating the observed effects of the H 2S on cAMP production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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