Taurine protects against oxidant-induced lung injury: possible mechanism(s) of action

Adv Exp Med Biol. 1994;359:31-9. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4899-1471-2_4.


It is thought that oxidant-induced tissue damage is not a direct effect of the oxidant per se, but rather results from the inflammatory response that occurs thereafter. As a result of inflammation following oxidant exposure, there are neutrophils, monocytes, and macrophages with myeloperoxidase-H2O2-halide activity in the lung. Leukocytes and especially neutrophils contain high intracellular concentrations (22-50mM) of taurine (6, 8, 11, 20). Taurine acts as a trap for toxic hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and forms the less reactive metabolite, N-chlorotaurine (5-6). Thus, the biological activity of halide-dependent myeloperoxidase may be regulated by endogenous taurine. Although taurine had no effect in the present study, polymorphonuclear leukocytes have an active myeloperoxidase system capable of producing N-chlorotaurine (9, 19) and would be present at the site of inflammation in oxidant-exposed lungs. Our data suggest that taurine via N-chlorotaurine formation may protect the lung from oxidant injury, at least in part, by inhibiting production of nitrite and TNF-alpha. Moreover, lavage cells isolated from rats pretreated with taurine and exposed to O3 have a significant decrease in the production of nitrite and TNF-alpha, compared with lavage cells from rats exposed to O3 without taurine supplementation (preliminary studies). Both the concentration of taurine and the effects of N-chlorotaurine strengthen the potential impact of this chlorinated amine in vivo. N-Chlorotaurine may protect against oxidant-induced lung injury by inhibiting production of nitrite and the release of TNF-alpha which are both known to be directly linked to tissue injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Kinetics
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Oxidants*
  • Ozone
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Taurine / analogs & derivatives
  • Taurine / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Nitrites
  • Oxidants
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Taurine
  • Nitric Oxide
  • N-chlorotaurine
  • Ozone
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases