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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 8961951, 9 pages
Review Article

Endogenous Sulfur Dioxide: A New Member of Gasotransmitter Family in the Cardiovascular System

1Department of Pediatrics, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing 100034, China
2Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Peking University Health Science Centre, Beijing 100191, China
3Key Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100191, China

Received 15 September 2015; Accepted 28 October 2015

Academic Editor: Jin-Song Bian

Copyright © 2016 Yaqian Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sulfur dioxide (SO2) was previously regarded as a toxic gas in atmospheric pollutants. But it has been found to be endogenously generated from metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids in mammals through transamination by aspartate aminotransferase (AAT). SO2 could be produced in cardiovascular tissues catalyzed by its synthase AAT. In recent years, studies revealed that SO2 had physiological effects on the cardiovascular system, including vasorelaxation and cardiac function regulation. In addition, the pathophysiological effects of SO2 were also determined. For example, SO2 ameliorated systemic hypertension and pulmonary hypertension, prevented the development of atherosclerosis, and protected against myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury and isoproterenol-induced myocardial injury. These findings suggested that endogenous SO2 was a novel gasotransmitter in the cardiovascular system and provided a new therapy target for cardiovascular diseases.