Taurine depletion alters vascular reactivity in rats

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27 Scopus citations


We recently showed that chronic taurine supplementation is associated with attenuation of contractile responses of rat aorta to norepinephrine and potassium chloride. However, the potential involvement of endogenous taurine in modulation of vascular reactivity is not known. Therefore, we examined the effect of β-alanine-induced taurine depletion on the in vitro reactivity of rat aorta to selected vasoactive agents. The data indicate that both norepinephrine- and potassium-chloride-induced maximum contractile responses of endothelium-denuded aortae were enhanced in taurine-depleted rats compared with control animals. However, taurine depletion did not affect tissue sensitivity to either norepinephrine or potassium chloride. By contrast, sensitivity of the endothelium-denuded aortae to sodium nitroprusside was attenuated by taurine depletion. Similarly, taurine deficiency reduced the relaxant responses of endothelium-intact aortic rings elicited by submaximal concentrations of acetylcholine, and this effect was associated with decreased nitric oxide production. Taken together, the data suggest that taurine depletion augments contractility but attenuates relaxation of vascular smooth muscle in a nonspecific manner. Impairment of endothelium-dependent responses, which is at least in part associated with reduced nitric oxide generation, may contribute to the attenuation of the vasorelaxant responses. These vascular alterations could be of potential consequence in pathological conditions associated with taurine deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-909
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


  • Rat aorta
  • Taurine depletion
  • Vascular reactivity
  • β-alanine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)


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