Harmful and Beneficial Effects of Organic Monosulphides, Disulphides, and Polysulphides in Animals and Humans

Many organic sulphides (mono-, di-, and polysulphides) are present in our environment. Simple derivatives are produced by some plants and animals, while complex sulphides are secondary metabolites of several genera of bacteria and fungi. Sulphides play an important role in the smell and taste of food, and many such compounds are used as food flavourings. Some sulphides are toxic, and there is evidence that such toxicity is caused by the ability of these substances to generate reactive oxygen species. Some sulphides, however, have been shown to protect against toxicants and carcinogens. These beneficial effects are believed to involve, at least in part, the ability of sulphides to inhibit the enzymic activation of protoxicants and to increase tissue activities of enzymes that protect against electrophiles. In addition, some sulphides have potential as cancer chemotherapeutics. In this review, the toxic and beneficial effects of sulphides in animals are described, and the possible value of sulphides in cancer chemoprotection and cancer chemotherapy is discussed.

Author: Munday, Rex ;Full Source: Chemical Research in Toxicology 2012, 25(1), 47-60 (Eng) ;