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118

 Functional Assessment of Urinary Neuro-biogenic Amines—A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

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Taurine (2-aminoethane-

sulfonic acid)

The essential amino acid taurine is

most abundant in the brain, spinal cord,

leukocytes, heart, muscle cells, and ret-

ina. Taurine promotes neural develop-

ment in both the embryonic and adult

brain. Taurine acts as a neuromodulator

and exerts,

in vitro

, an inhibitory effect

on the firing rate of central nervous sys-

tem (CNS) neurons. Taurine has been

shown in human and animal studies to

have mild anti-convulsant effects.

In the CNS taurine regulates the lev-

els of electrolytes within neurons; the

level of ions such as calcium, magne-

sium and potassium within neurons al-

ters the action potential (firing rate) in

the nerve cell. Taurine’s effects in the

CNS may vary by taurine concentra-

tion, brain region and neurotransmitter

receptor type. Taurine has antioxidant

properties; it stabilizes the electron