Role of taurine in the pathogenesis of obesity

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Jul;59(7):1353-63. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500067. Epub 2015 Apr 28.


Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is present in mammalian tissues in millimolar concentrations. Taurine is involved in a diverse array of biological and physiological functions, including bile salt conjugation, osmoregulation, membrane stabilization, calcium modulation, anti-oxidation, and immunomodulation. The prevalence of obesity and being overweight continues to rise worldwide at an alarming rate. Obesity is associated with a higher risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other clinical conditions. Ingestion of taurine has been shown to alleviate metabolic diseases such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity in animal models. A global epidemiological survey showed that 24-h urinary taurine excretion, as a marker of dietary taurine intake, was inversely associated with BMI, blood pressure, and plasma cholesterol in humans. In addition, taurine chloramine, an endogenous product derived from activated neutrophils, has been reported to suppress obesity-induced oxidative stress and inflammation in adipocytes. Synthetic activity and concentration of taurine in adipose tissues and plasma have been shown to decrease in humans and animals during the development of obesity, suggesting a relationship between taurine deficiency and obesity. In this review, I summarize the effects of taurine on the progression of obesity in animal models and humans. Furthermore, I discuss possible mechanisms underlying the antiobesity effects of taurine.

Keywords: Adipocyte; Bile acids; Obesity; Taurine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bile Acids and Salts / chemistry
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Taurine / blood
  • Taurine / pharmacology
  • Taurine / physiology*


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adiponectin
  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Taurine