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Taurine—a Possible Neurotransmitter ?


APART from the dicarboxylic acids, taurine is the most abundant amino-acid in the nervous system1, and yet very little is known about its function2. It has been suggested that taurine acts as a transmitter; Curtis and Watkins3 have evidence that among other amino-acids, taurine when applied iontophoretically to the vicinity of a neurone in the central nervous system exerts an inhibitory effect on the rate of firing and, furthermore, there is a structural resemblance between γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and taurine. There are also similarities in the distribution of both these amino-acids and in the localization of their synthesizing enzymes in different regions of the brain4. In addition, after density gradient centrifugation of rat brain homogenate, both cysteinesulphinate decarboxylase activity and taurine has been found to be enriched in the nerve ending fractions4. Glutamate and cysteinesulphinate decarboxylases are closely similar enzymes5 and their activities increase in parallel during development of rat brain4.

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DAVISON, A., KACZMAREK, L. Taurine—a Possible Neurotransmitter ?. Nature 234, 107–108 (1971).

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