Dietary taurine manipulations in aged male Fischer 344 rat tissue: taurine concentration, taurine biosynthesis, and oxidative markers

Biochem Pharmacol. 2001 Jul 1;62(1):29-39. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(01)00647-5.


Taurine (TAU) is a ubiquitous sulfur-containing amino acid that has been proposed to be an antioxidant. The concentration of TAU decreases during aging, which may increase susceptibility to oxidative stress. Our study attempted to elucidate the mechanism for the age-dependent decrease in TAU content by examining TAU biosynthesis in aged rats. We also examined the effects of dietary TAU manipulations on TAU content and oxidative markers in aged male Fischer 344 (F344) rats. Adult (9 months) and aged (26 months) rats fed control diets, aged rats fed control diet and TAU-supplemented (1.5%) water, and aged rats fed a TAU-deficient diet were used. We observed a significant age-related decrease in TAU content in liver, kidney, and cerebellum. Dietary TAU supplementation increased tissue TAU content, whereas dietary TAU restriction had no effect. Enzyme-dependent TAU synthesis showed an age-dependent reduction in liver that was decreased further by TAU supplementation. Protein carbonyl content was elevated in the cerebral cortex and kidney of aged rats and was attenuated by TAU supplementation. A trend for a decrease in protein and acid-soluble thiol contents in hepatic tissue of aged rats was observed, and this was attenuated with dietary TAU supplementation. Our data show that a decrease in hepatic TAU biosynthesis may cause, in part, the observed decline in tissue TAU content in aged F344 rats, and TAU supplementation can restore TAU levels. Our study indicates that a decline in TAU content may exacerbate oxidative stress in aged rats, which can be reversed by dietary TAU supplementation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Carboxy-Lyases / metabolism
  • Cysteine Dioxygenase
  • Diet
  • Dioxygenases*
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Oxygenases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Taurine / biosynthesis
  • Taurine / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Taurine
  • Oxygenases
  • Dioxygenases
  • Cysteine Dioxygenase
  • Carboxy-Lyases
  • sulfoalanine decarboxylase