Surgical Preparation Reduces Hydrogen Sulfide Released from Human Saphenous Veins in Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

  • Chao Yuan
  • Hai-Tao Hou
  • Huan-Xin Chen
  • Jun Wang
  • Zheng-Qing Wang
  • Tie-Nan Chen
  • Xiao-Cheng Liu
  • Qin Yang
  • Guo-Wei HeEmail author
Original Article


The long-term patency rate of saphenous vein (SV) grafts is poor compared to arterial grafts. To investigate the effects of surgical preparation (distention) of SV on hydrogen sulfide (H2S) released from the endothelium, human SV segments were harvested from 43 patients during coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). Acetylcholine (ACh) induced relaxation that was inhibited by NG-nitro-L-arginine + indomethacin and cysteine aminotransferase inhibitor aminooxyacetic acid in the normal SV. In contrast, ACh did not evoke relaxation in the distended SV (DSV). The concentration of H2S quantified by methylene blue assay in DSV was significantly lower than that in control. Transmission electron microscope and immunohistochemistry studies showed that the preparation destroyed the endothelium, smooth muscle, organelle, and vasa vasorum. We conclude that surgical preparation injures the endothelium and smooth muscle of the SV grafts and reduces H2S release from SV. These effects may contribute to the poor long-term patency of the SV graft.


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) CABG Endothelium Human saphenous vein 



Saphenous vein


Distended saphenous vein


Internal mammary artery


Hydrogen sulfide


Nitric oxide


Endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor


Coronary artery bypass surgery


Cysteine aminotransferase


Mitochondrial CAT


Cytosolic CAT


Mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase




Aminooxyacetic acid






Pyridoxal 5’-phosphate


Standard error of the mean


Transmission electron microscope


Endothelial cell


Smooth muscle cell


Vasa vasorum


Mitochondria and rough endoplasmic reticulum



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [81870288], the Non-profit Central Research Institute Fund of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences [2019XK310001 and 2018TX31002], and Tianjin Science and Technology Committee [18PTZWHZ00060]

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Basic Medical Research & Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, TEDA International Cardiovascular HospitalChinese Academy of Medical SciencesTianjinChina
  2. 2.Nankai UniversityTianjinChina
  3. 3.Zhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  4. 4.School of PharmacyWannan Medical CollegeWuhuChina
  5. 5.Department of SurgeryOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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