Arylthioamides have been frequently employed to assess the chemical biology and pharmacology of hydrogen sulfide (H2 S). From this class of donors, however, extremely low H2 S releasing efficiencies have been reported and proper mechanistic studies have been omitted. Consequently, millimolar concentrations of arylthioamides are required to liberate just trace amounts of H2 S, and via an unidentified mechanistic pathway, which obfuscates the interpretation of any biological activity that stems from their use. Herein, we report that H2 S release from this valuable class of donors can be markedly enhanced through intramolecular nucleophilic assistance. Specifically, we demonstrate that both disulfide- and diselenide-linked thioamides are responsive to biologically relevant concentrations of glutathione and release two molar equivalents of H2 S via an intramolecular cyclization that significantly augments their rate and efficiency of sulfide delivery in both buffer and live human cells.

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