Mode of action of taurine as a neuroprotector

Brain Res. 2005 Mar 21;1038(2):123-31. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2005.01.058.


Previously, it has been shown that taurine exerts its protective function against glutamate-induced neuronal excitotoxicity through its action in reducing glutamate-induced elevation of intracellular free calcium, [Ca2+]i. Here, we report the mechanism underlying the effect of taurine in reducing [Ca2+]i. We found that taurine inhibited glutamate-induced calcium influx through L-, P/Q-, N-type voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and NMDA receptor calcium channel. Surprisingly, taurine had no effect on calcium influx through NMDA receptor calcium channel when cultured neurons were treated with NMDA in Mg2+-free medium. Since taurine was found to prevent glutamate-induced membrane depolarization, we propose that taurine protects neurons against glutamate excitotoxicity by preventing glutamate-induced membrane depolarization, probably through its effect in opening of chloride channels and, therefore, preventing the glutamate-induced increase in calcium influx and other downstream events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Calcium Radioisotopes
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / toxicity
  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacology
  • Glutamic Acid / toxicity
  • Ion Channel Gating / drug effects
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Taurine / pharmacology*
  • Tetrazolium Salts / pharmacology
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Calcium Radioisotopes
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Taurine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • thiazolyl blue
  • Calcium