Taurine and glutamate were monitored by microdialysis technique during various cerebral insults: a. Application of K+ triggered a cortical spreading depression (CSD). Taurine and glutamate increased concomitantly but recovery of glutamate was faster than that of taurine. b. Application of NMDA induced also CSD but only taurine increased. c. Induction of an infarct triggered repetitive CSDs. Taurine increased rapidly whereas glutamate rose slowly starting with some delay. d. After induction of ischemia, taurine and glutamate increased after onset of depolarisation. The increase of glutamate occurred late after a small, transient increase in parallel with the depolarisation. These data suggest a close functional relationship between the changes of both amino acids. Therefore, they should be monitored together especially in clinical settings: during excitation, only taurine will increase; during overexcitation, taurine will also increase but to a higher maximum followed by a moderate rise of glutamate; after energy failure, taurine will accumulate to its highest level followed by a continuous rise of glutamate.