Taurine has been reported to influence bone metabolism, and its specific transport system, the taurine transporter, is expressed in osteoblasts. The mean [Mg2+]i was 0.51+/-0.01 mM in normal culture media. Taurine caused an increase in [Mg(2+)]i by 0.72+/-0.04 mM in human osteoblast (HOB) cells. This increment in [Mg2+]i was inhibited significantly by PD98059, nifedipine, lidocaine, and imipramine. Taurine was also shown to stimulate the activation of ERK 1/2. This taurine-stimulated ERK 1/2 activation was inhibited by PD98059. In the present study, taurine was shown to increase cell proliferation and generate an increase in [Mg2+]i accompanied by ERK 1/2 activation in HOB cells.