• Name: taurine
  • Description: Taurine is a sulfur amino acid like methionine, cystine, cysteine and homocysteine. It is a lesser-known amino acid because it is not incorporated into the structural building blocks of protein. Ye... t taurine is an essential amino acid in pre-term and newborn infants of humans and many other species. Adults can synthesize their own taurine, yet are probably dependent in part on dietary taurine. Taurine is abundant in the brain, heart, breast, gallbladder and kidney and has important roles in health and disease in these organs. Taurine has many diverse biological functions serving as a neurotransmitter in the brain, a stabilizer of cell membranes and a facilitator in the transport of ions such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Taurine is highly concentrated in animal and fish protein, which are good sources of dietary taurine. It can be synthesized by the body from cysteine when vitamin B6 is present. Deficiency of taurine occurs in premature infants and neonates fed formula milk, and in various disease states. Inborn errors of taurine metabolism have been described. OMIM 168605, an unusual neuropsychiatric disorder inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion through 3 generations of a family. Symptoms began late in the fifth decade in 6 affected persons and death occurred after 4 to 6 years. The earliest and most prominent symptom was mental depression not responsive to antidepressant drugs or electroconvulsive therapy. Sleep disturbances, exhaustion and marked weight loss were features. Parkinsonism developed later, and respiratory failure occurred terminally. OMIM 145350 describes congestive cardiomyopathy and markedly elevated urinary taurine levels (about 5 times normal). Other family members had late or holosystolic mitral valve prolapse and elevated urinary taurine values (about 2. 5 times normal). In 2 with mitral valve prolapse, congestive cardiomyopathy eventually developed while the amounts of urinary taurine doubled. Taurine, after GABA, is the second most important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Its inhibitory effect is one source of taurine's anticonvulsant and antianxiety properties. It also lowers glutamic acid in the brain, and preliminary clinical trials suggest taurine may be useful in some forms of epilepsy. Taurine in the brain is usually associated with zinc or manganese. The amino acids alanine and glutamic acid, as well as pantothenic acid, inhibit taurine metabolism while vitamins A and B6, zinc and manganese help build taurine. Cysteine and B6 are the nutrients most directly involved in taurine synthesis. Taurine levels have been found to decrease significantly in many depressed patients. One reason that the findings are not entirely clear is because taurine is often elevated in the blood of epileptics who need it. It is often difficult to distinguish compensatory changes in human biochemistry from true metabolic or deficiency disease. Low levels of taurine are found in retinitis pigmentosa. Taurine deficiency in experimental animals produces degeneration of light-sensitive cells. Therapeutic applications of taurine to eye disease are likely to be forthcoming. Taurine has many important metabolic roles. Supplements can stimulate prolactin and insulin release. The parathyroid gland makes a peptide hormone called glutataurine (glutamic acid-taurine), which further demonstrates taurine's role in endocrinology. Taurine increases bilirubin and cholesterol excretion in bile, critical to normal gallbladder function. It seems to inhibit the effect of morphine and potentiates the effects of opiate antagonists. Low plasma taurine levels have been found in a variety of conditions, i. e. , depression, hypertension, hypothyroidism, gout, institutionalized patients, infertility, obesity, kidney failure and others (http://www. dcnutrition. com/AminoAcids/). Moreover, taurine is found to be associated with maple syrup urine disease, which is an inborn error of metabolism. (HMDB: HMDB0000251)
Overview of age-variations
Age group comparisons
PMID Age/Age interval, Gender Value (unit of measurement) Method Sample
12768504 Age 32.6 ± 4.4 , Gender ♀ 169.0 (μmol/l) LC blood
12768504 Age 48 ± 4.3, Gender ♀ 155.0 (μmol/l) LC blood
12768504 Age 74.7 ± 10, Gender ♀ 137.0 (μmol/l) LC blood
12768504 Age 33.3 ± 3.8, Gender ♂ 130.0 (μmol/l) LC blood
12768504 Age 48.4 ± 6, Gender ♂ 150.0 (μmol/l) LC blood
12768504 Age 75.9 ± 9.3, Gender ♂ 108.0 (μmol/l) LC blood
Linear regression
PMID Age/Age interval, Gender Value (unit of measurement) Method Sample
log2 ratio/log2(FC)
PMID Age/Age interval, Gender Value (unit of measurement) Method Sample
  • Synonym:
    tauphon; β-aminoethylsulfonic acid;aminoethylsulfonic acid; beta-aminoethylsulfonic acid
  • Chemical Formula:
  • Systematic name:
    2-aminoethanesulfonic acid; 2-aminoethyl sulfonate; 2-aminoethane-1-sulfonic acid
  • InChI:
  • InChI Key:
  • CAS number:
Related resources
Pathway info P = product of S = substrate of
Metabolite sources and localization
  • Metabolite location:
    Human organism, Body part, Human body biofluids, Bile, Biofluid tissues, Blood, Blood cells, Platelet, White blood cell, Cerebrospinal fluid, Breast milk, Saliva, Urine, Organ, Brain, Intestine, Kidney, Liver, Muscle, Skeletal muscle, Pancreas, Placenta, Prostate, Skin, Skin tissue, Epidermis, Tissue, Connective tissue, Connective tissue cell, Fibroblast, Nervous tissue, Nervous tissue cells, Nerve cell, Cellular (general class), Subcellular, Peroxisome, Excreta material, Feces
  • Metabolite source:
    Homo sapiens, endogenous metabolite
Age group comparisons
Method: LC
Sample: blood
PubMed PMID: 12768504