Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) are widespread rheumatic
diseases characterized by persistent inflammation and joint destruction. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an
endogenous gas with important physiologic functions in the brain, vasculature and other organs. Recent
studies have found H2S to be a mediator in inflammatory joint diseases.
Objective: This review summarizes the recent literature in this area highlighting relevant developments.
Conclusions: Several authors have found that H2S exhibited anti-inflammatory, anti-catabolic and/or
anti-oxidant effects in rodent models of acute arthritis and in in vitro models using human synoviocytes
and articular chondrocytes from RA and OA tissues. The earliest studies used fast-dissolving
salts, such as NaSH, but GYY4137, which produces H2S more physiologically, shortly appeared.
More recently still, new H2S-forming compounds that target mitochondria have been synthesized.
These compounds open exciting opportunities for investigating the role of H2S in cell bioenergetics,
typically altered in arthritides. Positive results have also been obtained when H2S is administered as a
sulphurous water bath, an option meriting further study. These findings suggest that exogenous supplementation
of H2S may provide a viable therapeutic option for these diseases, particularly in OA.