Mechanism of the protective action of taurine in toxin and drug induced organ pathophysiology and diabetic complications: a review

Food Funct. 2012 Dec;3(12):1251-64. doi: 10.1039/c2fo30117b.


Taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid), a conditionally essential amino acid, is found in large concentrations in all mammalian tissues and is particularly abundant in aquatic foods. Taurine exhibits membrane stabilizing, osmoregulatory and cytoprotective effects, antioxidative properties, regulates intracellular Ca(2+) concentration, modulates ion movement and neurotransmitters, reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in various organs and controls blood pressure. Recently, emerging evidence from the literature shows the effectiveness of taurine as a protective agent against several environmental toxins and drug-induced multiple organ injuries as the outcome of hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, neurotoxicity, testicular toxicity and cardiotoxicity in several animal models. Besides, taurine is also effective in combating diabetes and its associated complications, including cardiomyopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy and atherosclerosis. These beneficial effects appear to be due to the multiple actions of taurine on cellular functions. This review summarizes the mechanism of the prophylactic role of taurine against several environmental toxins and drug-induced organ pathophysiology and diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Arsenic / toxicity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cadmium / toxicity
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / drug therapy*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Cytoprotection
  • Diabetes Complications / drug therapy*
  • Fluorides / toxicity
  • Hazardous Substances / toxicity
  • Heart Diseases / chemically induced
  • Heart Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Taurine / physiology
  • Taurine / therapeutic use*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Antioxidants
  • Cytokines
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Cadmium
  • Taurine
  • Arsenic
  • Fluorides
  • Calcium