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Amino Acids. 2010 Jul;39(2):427-34. doi: 10.1007/s00726-009-0458-x. Epub 2010 Jan 23.

The impact of taurine- and beta-alanine-supplemented diets on behavioral and neurochemical parameters in mice: antidepressant versus anxiolytic-like effects.

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Laboratory of Regulation in Metabolism and Behavior, Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, 812-8581, Japan.


Taurine, a substrate of taurine transporter, has functions as a neuromodulator and antioxidant and beta-alanine, a taurine transporter inhibitor, has a role as a neurotransmitter in the brain, and they were expected to be involved in depression-like behavior and antidepressant treatment. These facts aroused our interest in new capabilities of taurine and beta-alanine. Thus, to investigate the effects of chronic ingestion of taurine- (22.5 mmol/kg diet) supplemented diet and beta-alanine- (22.5 mmol/kg diet) supplemented diet under acute stressful conditions, behavioral changes and brain metabolites were compared with mice fed a control diet. In the open field test, no significant difference was observed in locomotor activity among groups. In the elevated plus-maze test, however, significant increases in the percentage of time spent and entries in the open arms were observed in the beta-alanine-supplemented diet fed group compared to both controls and animals fed with taurine-supplemented diet. Moreover, a significant decrease in the duration of immobility was observed in the taurine-supplemented diet group in the forced swimming test compared to both controls and animals fed with beta-alanine-supplemented diet. Taurine-supplemented diet increased taurine and L: -arginine concentrations in the hypothalamus. In contrast, beta-alanine-supplemented diet decreased the concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, a major metabolite of serotonin, in the hypothalamus. Beta-alanine-supplemented diet also increased carnosine (beta-alanyl-L: -histidine) concentration in the cerebral cortex and hypothalamus, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor concentration in the hippocampus. These results suggested that taurine-supplemented diet had an antidepressant-like effect and beta-alanine-supplemented diet had an anxiolytic-like effect.

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