Sulfur dioxide (SO2) was previously regarded as a toxic gas in atmospheric pollutants. But it has been found to be endogenously generated from metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids in mammals through transamination by aspartate aminotransferase (AAT). SO2 could be produced in cardiovascular tissues catalyzed by its synthase AAT. In recent years, studies revealed that SO2 had physiological effects on the cardiovascular system, including vasorelaxation and cardiac function regulation. In addition, the pathophysiological effects of SO2 were also determined. For example, SO2 ameliorated systemic hypertension and pulmonary hypertension, prevented the development of atherosclerosis, and protected against myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury and isoproterenol-induced myocardial injury. These findings suggested that endogenous SO2 was a novel gasotransmitter in the cardiovascular system and provided a new therapy target for cardiovascular diseases.
Huang, Y., Tang, C., Du, J., & Jin, H. (2016). Endogenous sulfur dioxide: A new member of gasotransmitter family in the cardiovascular system. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/8961951