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Host defense--a role for the amino acid taurine?



Host defense--a role for the amino acid taurine?



Jpen. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 22(1): 42-48



Taurine (2-aminoethane sulphonic acid), a ubiquitous beta-amino acid is conditionally essential in man. It is not utilized in protein synthesis but found free or in some simple peptides. Derived from methionine and cysteine metabolism, taurine is known to play a pivotal role in numerous physiological functions. Some of the roles with which taurine has been associated include osmoregulation, antioxidation, detoxification and stimulation of glycolysis and glycogenesis. Intracellular taurine is maintained at high concentrations in a variety of cell types and alteration of cell taurine levels is difficult. The role of taurine within the cell appears to be determined by the cell type. Recent research has determined a regulatory role for taurinechloramine, the product formed by the reaction between taurine and neutrophil derived hypochlorous acid on macrophage function. Plasma taurine levels are also high, although decreases are observed in response to surgical injury and numerous pathological conditions including cancer and sepsis. Supplementary taurine replenishes decreased plasma taurine. Although commonly used as a dietary supplement in the Far East, the potential advantages of dietary taurine supplementation have not as yet been fully recognized in the Western World; this is an area which could prove to be beneficial in the clinical arena.

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Accession: 046274778

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9437654

DOI: 10.1177/014860719802200142


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