Taurine trials in animal models offer no support for anxiolytic, antidepressant or stimulant effects

Brad K. Whirley, Haim Einat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Taurine is a conditionally-essential amino acid that is found in high concentrations in the CNS and is essential for growth and survival of neurons. Taurine had been clinically tested in a number of diseases with variable results. In the context of neuropsychiatry, taurine was found to be altered in some neurological and psychiatric disorders and its levels affected by mood stabilizers and by antidepressants as well as anti-Alzheimer drugs. Taurine is also a common component in energy drinks and it is claimed (without scientific support) to have stimulant properties. The present study was designed to test taurines effects in animal models of affective and anxiety disorders and to evaluate its properties as a stimulant. Method: Mice were treated with two doses of taurine with sub-chronic or chronic administration (for different experiments) and tested in the open field, the black/white box and the forced swim test. Taurines possible stimulant effects were also tested in conjunction with amphetamine administration. Results: For the doses and schedules tested, taurine did not have an effect on measures of anxiety- or depression-like behaviors and did not act as a stimulant, neither alone nor in conduction with amphetamine. In contrast, high dose taurine administration resulted in a transient decrease in activity. Conclusion: We suggest that any effects of taurine on affective-like behavioral measures may be very subtle (if any) and that prudence is recommended in claims regarding taurine activity as a stimulant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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