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Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2008 Feb 25;62:75-86.

[Taurine and its potential therapeutic application].

[Article in Polish]

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Zakład Regulacji Metabolizmu, Instytut Biochemii, Wydział Biologii, Uniwersytet.


Taurine (2-aminoethylsulphonic acid), a non-protein amino acid, is present in most animal tissues. Its highest concentrations are found in skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and retina. Although this compound can be synthesized from other sulfonic amino acids such as methionine and cysteine, the endogenous production is insufficient for the human organism, so taurine has to be delivered with food. Animal products such as fish, meat, and milk are good sources of taurine. Taurine exhibits antioxidative properties, regulates intracellular Ca2+ concentration, acts as a neuromediator and neuromodulator, is responsible for osmoregulation, is involved in cholic acid production, and modulates inflammatory reactions. The amino acid seems to be an important trophic factor in the retina, nervous system, and kidneys. The protective action of taurine on heart muscle and the antagonistic effects of this amino acid and angiotensin II arouse great interest. The role of taurine in glucose metabolism regulation is also extensively studied. However, the detailed mechanisms of taurine's action are still unknown. Lowered tissue taurine concentrations are characteristic of many pathological states, including diabetes. In many studies, also in clinical trials, it has been reported that supplementation with taurine reverses or at least attenuates pathological changes. Therefore, it seems likely that taurine might be used in the treatment of cardiomyopathy, myotony, hypercholesterolemia, or diabetes. However, future thorough studies are required.

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