Aging Cells Rejuvenated When Hydrogen Sulfide Gives Splicing Factors a Lift

For aging cells, the Fountain of Youth gushes with hydrogen sulfide, which isn’t exactly convenient. Yes, in the laboratory, hydrogen sulfide has been shown to reverse some of the manifestations of cellular senescence, a state in which cells cease to divide but linger on, secreting inflammatory factors and driving age-related maladies. The hydrogen sulfide, however, is usually delivered by hydrogen sulfide donors in nonphysiological conditions. Could hydrogen sulfide’s benefits—which include, potentially, treatments against cancer, dementia and diabetes—be obtained without relying on nonphysiological levels of hydrogen sulfide donors?

To help answer this question, scientists based at the University of Exeter decided to explore the cellular events between the administration of hydrogen sulfide and the reversal of cellular phenotypes characteristic of senescence and aging. Essentially, these scientists started looking for a shortcut. And they may have found one.

The University of Exeter team, led by Professor Lorna W. Harries, ...