Washington: Hydrogen sulphide - best known for its rotten egg smell - and nitric oxide could soon act as a therapy for heart problems, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Peninsula Medical School at the University of Exeter and the National University of Singapore found that the interaction between hydrogen sulphide and nitric oxide, which both occur naturally in the body, could lead to new treatments for heart failure.
Both of the gases interact with one another naturally and the researchers found that the balance between them and other chemical compounds influences people`s health.
The two gases were found to interact together to form a thiol-sensitive compound (linked to the sulphur in H2S) which produces inotropic (muscular contraction) and lusitropic (muscular relaxation) effects in the heart.
This `cross talk` suggests that there is the potential to produce a molecule that may be of benefit to the heart and which could be the basis of a new drug therapy based on elements that occur naturally in the body.
"Our findings are potentially very exciting and offer a novel insight into understanding how and why the heart fails. This could lead to new treatment and management strategies of heart failure," said Prof. Matt Whiteman, joint author from the Peninsula Medical School.
The research is published in the leading international journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling.