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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1988 Nov;31(3):667-73.

Effect of taurine on ethanol-induced sleep time in mice genetically bred for differences in ethanol sensitivity.

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  • 1Hahnemann University, School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Philadelphia, PA 19102.


Long Sleep (LS) and Short Sleep (SS) mice were used in this study to investigate the interaction between ethanol and taurine. Sleep time (hypnosis) was selected as an index of ethanol-induced central nervous system depression. In order to achieve a similar degree of central nervous system depression with ethanol, SS and LS mice received 5.3 and 3.0 g/kg, IP, of ethanol, respectively. When taurine (7.5, 15 and 25 mumol/kg) was administered intracerebroventricularly (ICV) to LS and SS mice immediately after regaining the righting reflex following ethanol injection, a return to sleep time was produced. This effect of taurine was immediate in onset and occurred in a dose-dependent fashion. LS mice exhibited a greater effect from taurine administration than SS mice. In another experiment LS and SS mice were given ICV TAG, a taurine antagonist (6-aminomethyl-3-methyl-4H-1,2,4-benzothiadiazine-1,1-dioxide HCl), which significantly reduced the effect of taurine to produce a return to sleep time in the presence of ethanol. TAG did not affect ethanol-induced sleep time. In control experiments, in the absence of ethanol, neither taurine (25 mumol/kg, ICV) nor TAG (1 mumol/kg, ICV) caused a significant loss of the righting reflex (sleep time). When pentobarbital (50 mg/kg, IP) was injected instead of ethanol in the sleep time experiments, taurine (7.5, 15 and 25 mumol/kg, ICV) produced a return to sleep time in LS and SS mice that resembled the effect of taurine with ethanol in SS mice. These results indicate that taurine (ICV) can enhance the central depressant action of ethanol and pentobarbital and that the greatest effect of taurine occurred with LS mice in the presence of ethanol. It is possible that taurine may have some role in the central nervous system depressant properties of ethanol.

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