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Arch Toxicol. 1993;67(4):244-54.

Investigations into the effects of various hepatotoxic compounds on urinary and liver taurine levels in rats.

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Department of Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, University of London, UK.


The effect of various hepatotoxicants on urinary taurine and urinary creatine has been studied in the rat. Several hepatotoxic agents, carbon tetrachloride, thioacetamide, galactosamine and allyl alcohol which all caused hepatic necrosis (sometimes accompanied by steatosis), resulted in a rise in urinary taurine and in some cases creatine, when administered to rats. Ethionine and hydrazine also raised urinary taurine but caused only steatosis and did not raise urinary creatine. Therefore urinary taurine and possibly creatine may be useful markers of liver injury and dysfunction. Liver taurine levels were also affected by some of the hepatotoxicants but in those cases where there was a rise in urinary taurine this could not be accounted for by the loss in liver taurine. It is suggested that the increase in urinary taurine is partly due to changes in protein synthesis and hence in sulphur amino acid metabolism caused by hepatotoxic agents. However, bromobenzene did not increase urinary taurine and alpha-naphthylisothiocyanate and lithocholate caused reduced levels. It is suggested that this lack of increase in urinary taurine may be due to depletion of glutathione or interference with the biliary system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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