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Brain Res. 2005 Mar 21;1038(2):123-31.

Mode of action of taurine as a neuroprotector.

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Department of Biomedical Science, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.


Previously, it has been shown that taurine exerts its protective function against glutamate-induced neuronal excitotoxicity through its action in reducing glutamate-induced elevation of intracellular free calcium, [Ca2+]i. Here, we report the mechanism underlying the effect of taurine in reducing [Ca2+]i. We found that taurine inhibited glutamate-induced calcium influx through L-, P/Q-, N-type voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and NMDA receptor calcium channel. Surprisingly, taurine had no effect on calcium influx through NMDA receptor calcium channel when cultured neurons were treated with NMDA in Mg2+-free medium. Since taurine was found to prevent glutamate-induced membrane depolarization, we propose that taurine protects neurons against glutamate excitotoxicity by preventing glutamate-induced membrane depolarization, probably through its effect in opening of chloride channels and, therefore, preventing the glutamate-induced increase in calcium influx and other downstream events.

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