A new compound, called AP39, which generates minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide gas inside cells, could be beneficial in cases of high blood pressure and diseases of the blood vessels that occur with ageing and diabetes, according to scientists at University of Exeter Medical School.
Animal studies of AP39 have revealed that administration of the compound to animals with high blood pressure significantly lowered heart rate, blood pressure and blood vessel stiffness.
Researcher Matt Whiteman, who led the study, said, "This research significantly adds to our growing body of evidence that hydrogen sulfide could hold the key to new and effective therapies in humans. We are still at an early stage, but so far the key to success appears to be getting hydrogen sulfide delivered to the right place inside cells and mimicking the way the body naturally produces this gas. The mechanism may be through blocking a calcium channel on the heart that regulates heartbeat, slowing it down. Clinically used drugs which also block this channel have similar effects, but more than 10 fold higher doses are required."
The research team is currently investigating the effects of AP39 in other models of heart and blood vessel disease, such as cardiac arrest and heart attacks.
The study has been published in the Nitric Oxide Journal.