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Role of taurine in preventing acetaminophen-induced hepatic injury in the rat.

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Department of Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland.


Acetaminophen overdose causes acute liver injury in both humans and animals. This study was designed to investigate the potential role of the conditionally essential amino acid taurine in preventing acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered acetaminophen (800 mg/kg) intraperitoneally. Taurine (200 mg/kg) was given 12 h before, at the time of, and 1 or 2 h after acetaminophen injection. Acetaminophen treatment increased the plasma levels of aspartate transaminase, alanine aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase and caused hepatic DNA fragmentation and hepatocyte necrosis. Taurine administered before, simultaneously with, or 1 h after acetaminophen resulted in significant improvement in hepatic injury as represented by decrease of hepatocellular enzyme release and attenuation of hepatocyte apoptosis and necrosis, and this correlated with taurine-mediated attenuation of hepatic lipid peroxidation. These results indicate that taurine possesses prophylactic and therapeutic effects in acetaminophen-induced hepatic injury.

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