The impact of taurine- and beta-alanine-supplemented diets on behavioral and neurochemical parameters in mice: antidepressant versus anxiolytic-like effects

Amino Acids. 2010 Jul;39(2):427-34. doi: 10.1007/s00726-009-0458-x. Epub 2010 Jan 23.


Taurine, a substrate of taurine transporter, has functions as a neuromodulator and antioxidant and beta-alanine, a taurine transporter inhibitor, has a role as a neurotransmitter in the brain, and they were expected to be involved in depression-like behavior and antidepressant treatment. These facts aroused our interest in new capabilities of taurine and beta-alanine. Thus, to investigate the effects of chronic ingestion of taurine- (22.5 mmol/kg diet) supplemented diet and beta-alanine- (22.5 mmol/kg diet) supplemented diet under acute stressful conditions, behavioral changes and brain metabolites were compared with mice fed a control diet. In the open field test, no significant difference was observed in locomotor activity among groups. In the elevated plus-maze test, however, significant increases in the percentage of time spent and entries in the open arms were observed in the beta-alanine-supplemented diet fed group compared to both controls and animals fed with taurine-supplemented diet. Moreover, a significant decrease in the duration of immobility was observed in the taurine-supplemented diet group in the forced swimming test compared to both controls and animals fed with beta-alanine-supplemented diet. Taurine-supplemented diet increased taurine and L: -arginine concentrations in the hypothalamus. In contrast, beta-alanine-supplemented diet decreased the concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, a major metabolite of serotonin, in the hypothalamus. Beta-alanine-supplemented diet also increased carnosine (beta-alanyl-L: -histidine) concentration in the cerebral cortex and hypothalamus, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor concentration in the hippocampus. These results suggested that taurine-supplemented diet had an antidepressant-like effect and beta-alanine-supplemented diet had an anxiolytic-like effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Arginine / metabolism
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Carnosine / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy
  • Taurine / metabolism
  • Taurine / pharmacology*
  • beta-Alanine / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • beta-Alanine
  • Taurine
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Carnosine
  • Arginine