Taurine: the appeal of a safe amino acid for skeletal muscle disorders

J Transl Med. 2015 Jul 25;13:243. doi: 10.1186/s12967-015-0610-1.


Taurine is a natural amino acid present as free form in many mammalian tissues and in particular in skeletal muscle. Taurine exerts many physiological functions, including membrane stabilization, osmoregulation and cytoprotective effects, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions as well as modulation of intracellular calcium concentration and ion channel function. In addition taurine may control muscle metabolism and gene expression, through yet unclear mechanisms. This review summarizes the effects of taurine on specific muscle targets and pathways as well as its therapeutic potential to restore skeletal muscle function and performance in various pathological conditions. Evidences support the link between alteration of intracellular taurine level in skeletal muscle and different pathophysiological conditions, such as disuse-induced muscle atrophy, muscular dystrophy and/or senescence, reinforcing the interest towards its exogenous supplementation. In addition, taurine treatment can be beneficial to reduce sarcolemmal hyper-excitability in myotonia-related syndromes. Although further studies are necessary to fill the gaps between animals and humans, the benefit of the amino acid appears to be due to its multiple actions on cellular functions while toxicity seems relatively low. Human clinical trials using taurine in various pathologies such as diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological disorders have been performed and may represent a guide-line for designing specific studies in patients of neuromuscular diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology
  • Amino Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Excitation Contraction Coupling / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Taurine / pharmacology
  • Taurine / therapeutic use*


  • Amino Acids
  • Ion Channels
  • Taurine