Hydrogen sulphide is a gas mostly associated with the smell of rotten eggs, but it is also found in fluid form in the body, and may protect against inflammation.
H2S reside in knee joint synovial fluid - the protective fluid found in the cavities of joints that reduces friction between the cartilages of joints during movement.
Peninsula Medical School researchers and rheumatologists at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust in Exeter compared H2S in blood samples and knee-joint synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and healthy individuals.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis were found to have higher concentrations of H2S in their synovial fluid.
Higher H2S levels were associated with disease activity and lowered counts of inflammatory cells suggesting H2S may be a novel mediator made by the body to control inflammation.
As a result, H2S could be used as a therapeutic and possibly 'natural' option for patients with chronic inflammatory diseases.
Dr. Matt Whiteman said, "Since H2S is naturally produced in our bodies by enzymes, it may be possible to manipulate the activity of these enzymes to increase their activity, possibly by dietary means, to boost the body's ability to deal with inflammation and tissue damage. "
The study is published in the current issue of the prestigious Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. (ANI)