The effect of the intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of taurine on amnesia, convulsions and death caused by hypoxia was investigated in mice. Taurine in doses of 80-100 micrograms/mouse impaired acquisition of a single trial in passive avoidance performance, but protected mice from the learning impairment induced by hypoxia. Neither beta-alanine nor saccharose were able to mimic the effects of taurine. Taurine had no effect on amnesia induced by scopolamine injected intraperitoneally. Taurine protected against the onset of convulsions induced by hypoxia, while convulsions induced by pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) and hyperbaric oxygen were unaffected. The survival time of mice exposed to hypoxia was significantly increased by taurine treatment. These data suggest that taurine may play a role as an antihypoxic agent.