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Less of a stink in diabetes patients?
Date:3/16/2009

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is commonly associated with smell of rotten eggs, stink bombs and blocked drains but lower blood levels of the gas are possibly linked to cardiovascular complications in some male patients with type II diabetes, according to research recently presented by researchers at the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England at the Annual Diabetes UK Professional Conference in Glasgow this week and published in Diabetic Medicine.

H2S is produced naturally within our bodies, along with other chemical compounds such as nitric oxide, where it is believed to help regulate blood pressure. Research shows that a balance between these compounds relates to good health, whereas an imbalance could indicate disease. In the case of diabetes, common complications of the disease are high blood pressure and microvascular dysfunction, which leads to damage of the tiny blood vessels (microvessels) that deliver blood, oxygen and nutrients to the eyes, skin, nerves and kidney.

Dr. Matt Whiteman of the Peninsula Medical School and colleagues from the Peninsula National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Facility have compared the levels of H2S in blood samples taken from healthy people and male patients with type II diabetes and found markedly decreased levels of H2S in the diabetes patients. Lower H2S levels were associated with clinical markers of impaired microvessel function suggesting that a loss of this blood pressure lowering gas could be a contributing factor in the development of vascular complications in patients with diabetes.

Previous work on H2S has almost exclusively been carried out on animals in the laboratory however work carried out at PMS in the recently opened Peninsula NIHR Clinical Research Facility has been the first to investigate the role of H2S in any disease in humans. Dr. Whiteman commented: "Our
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Contact: Andrew Gould
andrew.gould@pms.ac.uk
44-139-268-6107
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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