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Int J Dev Neurosci. 1986;4(4):383-95.

Development of taurine biosynthesizing system in cerebral cortical neurons in primary culture.

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Department of Pharmacology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan.


Developmental patterns of taurine biosynthesizing system were investigated using primary cultured neurons prepared from the neopallium of 15-day-old fetal mice by a trypsin treatment in comparison with those in cerebral cortices obtained from age-matched fetal and neonatal mice. The morphological observations by phase contrast and scanning electron micrographies indicated that the cells in primary culture used in the present study possessed typical features of neurons. In addition, the immunohistochemical studies using the antibody to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a specific marker for astroglia, revealed that the contamination of astroglias was negligible. The contents of taurine and metabolic intermediates in taurine biosynthesis, cysteine sulfinic acid and cysteic acid, in primary cultured neurons showed decreases during their development, especially during the first week after the inoculation. Similar developmental patterns of these amino acids were observed in cerebral cortices in vivo during perinatal stage, which corresponded to the first week of neuronal growth in vitro. On the other hand, the activities of cysteine sulfinic acid decarboxylase and cysteine dioxygenase, both of which are involved in the biosynthesis of taurine, were found to be increased progressively both in primary cultured neurons and in cerebral cortices in vivo during their growth. The immunohistochemical study using antitaurine antibody obtained from rabbit clearly demonstrated that immunoreactive materials were localized in cell bodies and the processes of neurons, and the intensity of the immunoreactivity in primary cultured neurons also showed a reduction with time of culture. These results indicate that primary cultured neurons used in this study possess a similar capacity to synthesize taurine from cysteine as developing brains in vivo. The present results also strongly suggest the well known decrease in cerebral taurine content in vivo during neonatal stages may be predominantly due to the decrease of taurine in neuronal cells.

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