Hydrogen sulfide attenuates epithelial-mesenchymal transition of human alveolar epithelial cells.Pharmacol Res. 2010 Apr; 61(4):298-305.PR
We previously reported that the endogenous cystathionine gamma-lyase (CSE)/hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) pathway is implicated in the pathogenesis of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in rats, but the exact cellular mechanisms are not well characterized. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), induced by transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) in alveolar epithelial cells, plays an important role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. We studied whether H(2)S could attenuate EMT in cultured alveolar epithelial cells and TGF-beta1 treatment suppressed CSE expression in A549 cells. Inhibition of endogenous CSE by dl-propargylglycine led to spontaneous EMT, as manifested by decreased E-cadherin level, increased vimentin expression and fibroblast-like morphologic features. Exogenous H(2)S applied to TGF-beta1-treated A549 cells decreased vimentin expression, increased E-cadherin level and retained epithelial morphologic features. In addition, preincubation with H(2)S decreased Smad2/3 phosphorylation in A549 cells stimulated by TGF-beta1, and H(2)S-inhibited alveolar EMT was mimicked by treatment with SB505124, a Smad2/3 inhibitor, but not pinacidil, an ATP-sensitive K(+) channel (K(ATP)) opener. H(2)S serves a critical role in preserving an epithelial phenotype and in attenuating EMT in alveolar epithelial cells, mediated, at least in part, by decreased Smad2/3 phosphorylation and not dependent on K(ATP) channel opening.