The important role of taurine in oxidative metabolism

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2006;583:129-35. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-33504-9_13.


Several studies have demonstrated that especially high taurine concentrations are found in tissues with high oxidative activity, whereas lower concentrations are found in tissues with primary glycolytic activity. Based on such observations, we have studied if taurine is involved in mitochondrial oxidation. Several pieces of information have demonstrated taurine localisation in the mitochondria. We have developed a general biochemical model with preliminary data demonstrating the important role of taurine as mitochondrial matrix buffer for stabilising the mitochondrial oxidation. The model can have far-reaching perspectives, e.g., explaining the often-suggested anti-oxidative role of taurine, in contrast to the fact that taurine is very difficult to chemically oxidise. By stabilising the environment in the mitochondria, taurine will prevent leakage of the reactive compounds formed in the reactive mitochondrial environment and thus indirectly act as an antioxidant. Consequently, the model represents a new concept for understanding mitochondrial dysfunction by emphasising the importance of taurine for providing sufficient pH buffering in the mitochondrial matrix.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Buffers
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Taurine / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Buffers
  • Taurine
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase