For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that the administration of minute amounts of inhaled or intravenous hydrogen sulfide, or H2S – the molecule that gives rotten eggs their sulfurous stench – significantly improves survival from extreme blood loss in rats.
Cell biologist Mark B. Roth, Ph.D., and colleagues in the Basic Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in collaboration with surgeon Robert K. Winn, Ph.D., and colleagues at UW Medicine's Harborview Medical Center, report their findings online ahead of print in The Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. The article is slated for the July print issue, which comes out on July 10.
The researchers successfully used H2S to induce a state of reversible metabolic hibernation as a way to reduce death from insufficient blood supply to organs and tissues in a rat model of lethal hemorrhage. (Federal regulations mandate the use of such animal models in preclinical research to test the safety and effectiveness of various procedures and treatments before they can be tested in humans.)
They found that 75 percent of rats (18 of 24) given inhaled hydrogen sulfide and 67 percent of rats (eight of 12) given intravenous hydrogen sulfide survived at least two weeks – the duration of the monitoring period – after losing more than half of their blood for an extended period. In contrast, long-term survival rates for the untreated rats in the two control groups were 23 percent (three of 13) and 14 percent (one of seven), respectively.
"Our goal is to develop life-saving treatment for critically ill people suffering from acute, sustained blood loss, such as in a car accident or on the battlefield," said senior author Roth. "These findings have obvious implications for the military, but they also have tremendous implications for the civilian population."
OMG THEY"RE CLOSE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!
A bit more seriously, it's interesting to see if we finally do get teh much mumbled about in SFnal terms hibernation capability...because of stinky eggs.