Taurine and liver diseases: a focus on the heterogeneous protective properties of taurine

Amino Acids. 2014 Jan;46(1):101-10. doi: 10.1007/s00726-012-1381-0. Epub 2012 Aug 24.


Taurine (2-aminoethylsulfonic acid) has many physiological and pharmacological functions in most tissues. It is abundantly maintained in the liver by both endogenous biosynthesis and exogenous transport, but is decreased in liver diseases. In the hepatic lobule, there are heterogeneous differences in metabolism between the pericentral (PC) and periportal regions, and the distributions of the biosynthesis capacity and specific taurine transporter expression are predominantly in the PC region. In cases of depletion of hepatic taurine level, serious liver damages were observed in the PC region. Taurine has protective effects against xenobiotics-induced liver damages in the PC region, but not xenobiotics-induced PP region damages. The xenobiotics that injure the PC region are mainly catabolized by NADPH-dependent cytochrome P450 2E1 that is also predominantly expressed in the PC region. Taurine treatment seems to be a useful agent for CYP2E1-related liver diseases with predominant damages in the PC region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Liver Diseases* / metabolism
  • Liver Diseases* / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Taurine / therapeutic use*
  • Xenobiotics / adverse effects


  • Xenobiotics
  • Taurine
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1