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Life Sci. 2019 Jun 17:116584. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2019.116584. [Epub ahead of print]

Roles of taurine in cognitive function of physiology, pathologies and toxication.

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Institute of Nursing and Health, College of Nursing and Health, Henan University, Henan, Kaifeng, China.
Wuxi School of Medicine, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China.
School of Food and Bioengineering, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, Henan, China.
School of Business, Henan University, Henan, Kaifeng, China.
School of Basic Medicine, Henan University, Jinming Avenue, 475004, Henan, Kaifeng, China. Electronic address:
Garden Flavor Wish Fulfilment Research Center, Henan Zhanyu Technology Co., Ltd, China.


Taurine is a key functional amino acid with many functions in the nervous system. The effects of taurine on cognitive function have aroused increasing attention. First, the fluctuations of taurine and its transporters are associated with cognitive impairments in physiology and pathology. This may help diagnose and treat cognitive impairment though mechanisms are not fully uncovered in existing studies. Then, taurine supplements in cognitive impairment of different physiologies, pathologies and toxicologies have been demonstrated to significantly improve and restore cognition in most cases. However, elevated taurine level in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by exogenous administration causes cognition retardations only in physiologically sensitive period between the perinatal to early postnatal period. In this review, taurine levels are summarized in different types of cognitive impairments. Subsequently, the effects of taurine supplements on cognitions in physiology, different pathologies and toxication of cognitive impairments (e.g. aging, Alzheimer' disease, streptozotocin (STZ)-induced brain damage, ischemia model, mental disorder, genetic diseases and cognitive injuries of pharmaceuticals and toxins) are analyzed. These data suggest that taurine can improve cognition function through multiple potential mechanisms (e.g. restoring functions of taurine transporters and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) A receptors subunit; mitigating neuroinflammation; up-regulating Nrf2 expression and antioxidant capacities; activating Akt/CREB/PGC1α pathway, and further enhancing mitochondria biogenesis, synaptic function and reducing oxidative stress; increasing neurogenesis and synaptic function by pERK; activating PKA pathway). However, more mechanisms still need explorations.


Cognitive function; Cognitive impairment; Pathology; Physiology; Taurine


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