Effects of taurine on anxiety-like and locomotor behavior of mice

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;643:207-15. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-75681-3_21.


Taurine is one of the most abundant free amino acids especially in excitable tissues, with wide physiological actions. We have previously reported that chronic supplementation of taurine in drinking water to mice increases brain excitability, mainly through alterations in the inhibitory GABAergic system. In this study we investigated the effects of chronic versus acute taurine treatment on anxiety-like and locomotor behaviors using two behavioral tests: elevated plus-maze and open-field. These two test conditions generated different levels of anxiety, and both anxiolytic and anxiogenic effects of taurine could be assessed. We used two paradigms for taurine treatment: Acute injection versus chronic supplementation. In the open field test, taurine supplementation increased whereas taurine injection suppressed locomotor activity. We found that taurine supplementation induced an increase in the total distance traveled, the overall movement speed, the time the animals spent mobile, the number of line crossings, and the time the animals entered the center zone. In the elevated arm maze, taurine injection suppressed anxiety whereas taurine supplementation was anxiogenic. The major findings of this are two folds: First these results suggest that taurine might play a role in the modulation of anxiety and locomotor activity. Second, taurine when injected acutely had opposite effects than when administered chronically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / chemically induced*
  • Locomotion / drug effects*
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Taurine / administration & dosage
  • Taurine / pharmacology*


  • Taurine