Taurine: A Regulator of Cellular Redox Homeostasis and Skeletal Muscle Function

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019 Aug;63(16):e1800569. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800569. Epub 2018 Oct 7.


Taurine is a nonproteinogenic ß-aminosulfonic acid. Important dietary sources of taurine are fish and seafood. Taurine interacts with ion channels, stabilizes membranes, and regulates the cell volume. These actions confirm its high concentrations in excitable tissues like retina, neurons, and muscles. Retinal degeneration, cardiomyopathy, as well as skeletal muscle malfunction are evident in taurine-deficient phenotypes. There is evidence that taurine counteracts lipid peroxidation and increases cellular antioxidant defense in response to inflammation. In activated neutrophils, taurine reacts with hypochloric acid to form taurine chloramine, which triggers the Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1-nuclear factor E2-related factor 1 (Keap1-Nrf2) pathway. Consequently, Nrf2 target genes, such as heme oxygenase-1 and catalase, are induced. Furthermore, taurine may prevent an overload of reactive oxygen species (ROS) directly by an inhibition of ROS generation within the respiratory chain. Taurine affects mitochondrial bioenergetics and taurine-deficient mice exhibit an impaired exercise performance. Moreover, some studies demonstrate that taurine enhances the glycogen repletion in the postexercise recovery phase. In the case of taurine deficiency, many studies observed a phenotype known in muscle senescence and skeletal muscle disorders. Overall, taurine plays an important role in cellular redox homeostasis and skeletal muscle function.

Keywords: antioxidants; exercise; lipid peroxidation; mitochondria; taurine chloramine; uridine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / physiology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Taurine / administration & dosage
  • Taurine / deficiency
  • Taurine / physiology*


  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Taurine
  • Glutathione