The impact of hydrogen sulfide (H 2S) on neurotransmitter release from the cat carotid body

Robert S. Fitzgerald, Machiko Shirahata, Irene Chang, Eric Kostuk, Samara Kiihl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Do cat carotid bodies (CBs) increase their release of acetylcholine and ATP in response to H 2S? Two CBs, incubated in a Krebs Ringer bicarbonate solution at 37°C, exhibited a normal response to hypoxia-increased release of acetylcholine (ACh) and ATP. They were challenged with several concentrations of Na 2S, an H 2S donor. H 2S, a new gasotransmitter, is reported to open K ATP channels. Under normoxic conditions the CBs reduced their release of ACh and ATP below control values. They responded identically to pinacidil, a well-known K ATP channel opener. CB glomus cells exhibited a positive immunohistochemical signal for cystathione-β-synthetase, a H 2S synthesizing enzyme, and for a subunit of the K ATP channel. The data suggest that Na 2S may have opened the glomus cells' K ATP channels, hyperpolarizing the cells, thus reducing their tonic release of ACh and ATP. Since during hypoxia H 2S levels rise, the glomus cells responding very actively to hypoxia may be protected from over-exertion by the H 2S opening of the K ATP channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-89
Number of pages10
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 31 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP
  • Acetylcholine
  • Carotid body
  • Glomus cell
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • K channel
  • Neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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