The effect of taurine on cholesterol metabolism

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 May;56(5):681-90. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201100799.


The elevated plasma cholesterol level, in particular, LDL cholesterol is regarded as an important risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. A number of studies provide the evidence that taurine has the efficient action to reduce plasma and liver cholesterol concentrations, especially to decrease VLDL and LDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemia animal induced by high cholesterol diet. Cholesterol lowering effect of taurine is actually involved in the regulatory mechanism of cholesterol and bile acid homeostasis that mediated by CYP7A1, which has become a biomarker for cholesterol metabolism and itself is also regulated by several factors and nuclear receptors. This review summarizes the change of cholesterol concentration in metabolism observed in feeding studies of hypercholesterolemia animal dealing with taurine, and then, addresses the possible metabolic and molecular mechanisms of cholesterol lowering effect by taurine in three aspects, cholesterol clearance from blood circulation, bioconversion of cholesterol to bile acid in liver, and excretion of cholesterol and bile acid from intestine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / pharmacokinetics
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, VLDL / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Taurine / pharmacology*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Cholesterol, VLDL
  • Taurine
  • Cholesterol