A selective and sensitive method for quantification of endogenous polysulfide production in biological samples

Sofia Iris Bibli, Bert Luck, Sven Zukunft, Janina Wittig, Wei Chen, Ming Xian, Andreas Papapetropoulos, Jiong Hu, Ingrid Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gasotransmitter that regulates cellular homeostasis and impacts on multiple physiological and pathophysiological processes. However, it exerts many of its biological actions indirectly via the formation of H2S-derived sulfane sulfur species/polysulfides. Because of the high reactivity of sulfur species, the detection of H2S-derived polysulfides in biological systems is challenging and currently used methods are neither sensitive nor quantitative. Herein, we describe a LC-MS/MS-based method that makes use of Sulfane Sulfur Probe 4 to detect endogenously generated polysulfides in biological samples in a selective, sensitive and quantitative manner. The results indicate a large variability in the activity of the H2S-generating enzymes in different murine organs, but the method described was able to detect intracellular levels of polysulfides in the nanomolar range and identify cystathionine γ-lyase as the major intracellular source of sulfane sulfur species/polysulfides in murine endothelial cells and hearts. The protocol described can be applied to a variety of biological samples for the quantification of the H2S-derived polysulfides and has the potential to increase understanding on the control and consequences of this gaseous transmitter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-304
Number of pages10
JournalRedox Biology
StatePublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological samples
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Polysulfide quantification
  • SSP4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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