Ming Xian
Ming Xian

For the first time, researchers at Washington State University have created an injectable compound or “probe” that illuminates hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen polysulfides in different colors when they are present in cells.

Hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen polysulfides are gases notorious as the source of rotten egg stench. They are produced and used for a wide variety of processes in the body. They are thought to play a role in aging as well as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart attack, cancer and many other diseases, but their precise functions remain a mystery.

The new probe, developed by WSU chemistry professor Ming Xian, will give medical researchers the ability to start identifying the functions each gas plays in specific biological processes, such as inflammation in the heart or the buildup of tumor cells, which could eventually lead to the design of new drugs and medical therapies.

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