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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019;1155:801-819. doi: 10.1007/978-981-13-8023-5_69.

Assessing the Anxiolytic Properties of Taurine-Derived Compounds in Rats Following Developmental Lead Exposure: A Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pharmacological Pilot Study.

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Department of Psychology, SUNY Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY, USA.
SUNY Neuroscience Research Institute, SUNY Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY, USA.
Department of Chemistry & Physics, SUNY Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY, USA.
Department of Psychology, SUNY Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY, USA.
SUNY Neuroscience Research Institute, SUNY Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY, USA.
Department of Biology, SUNY Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY, USA.
Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Lead (Pb2+) is a developmental neurotoxicant that causes alterations in the brain's excitation-to-inhibition (E/I) balance. By increasing chloride concentration through GABA-ARs, taurine serves as an effective inhibitory compound for maintaining appropriate levels of brain excitability. Considering this pharmacological mechanism of taurine facilitated inhibition through the GABA-AR, the present pilot study sought to explore the anxiolytic potential of taurine derivatives. Treatment groups consisted of the following developmental Pb2+-exposures: Control (0 ppm) and Perinatal (150 ppm or 1000 ppm lead acetate in the drinking water). Rats were scheduled for behavioral tests between postnatal days (PND) 36-45 with random assignments to either solutions of Saline, Taurine, or Taurine Derived compounds (i.e., TD-101, TD-102, or TD-103) to assess the rats' responsiveness to each drug in mitigating the developmental Pb2+-exposure through the GABAergic system. Long Evans Hooded rats were assessed using an Open Field (OF) test for preliminary locomotor assessment. Approximately 24-h after the OF, the same rats were exposed to the Elevated Plus Maze (EPM) and were given an i.p. injection of 43 mg/Kg of the Saline, Taurine, or TD drugs 15-min prior to testing. Each rat was tested using the random assignment method for each pharmacological condition, which was conducted using a triple-blind procedure. The OF data revealed that locomotor activity was unaffected by Pb2+-exposure with no gender differences observed. However, Pb2+-exposure induced an anxiogenic response in the EPM, which interestingly, was ameliorated in a gender-specific manner in response to taurine and TD drugs. Female rats exhibited more anxiogenic behavior than the male rats; and as such, exhibited a greater degree of anxiety that were recovered in response to Taurine and its derivatives as a drug therapy. The results from the present psychopharmacological pilot study suggests that Taurine and its derivatives could provide useful data for further exploring the pharmacological mechanisms and actions of Taurine and the associated GABAergic receptor properties by which these compounds alleviate anxiety as a potential behavioral pharmacotherapy for treating anxiety and other associated mood disorders.


Anxiety; Developmental neurotoxicity; Elevated plus maze; GABAergic system; Lead poisoning; Psychopharmacotherapy; Taurine

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