Review Article

Amino Acids

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 7-20

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Taurine and inflammatory diseases

  • Janusz MarcinkiewiczAffiliated withDepartment of Immunology, Jagiellonian University Medical College Email author 
  • , Ewa KontnyAffiliated withDepartment of Pathophysiology and Immunology, Institute of Rheumatology


Taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is the most abundant free amino acid in humans and plays an important role in several essential biological processes such as bile acid conjugation, maintenance of calcium homeostasis, osmoregulation and membrane stabilization. Moreover, attenuation of apoptosis and its antioxidant activity seem to be crucial for the cytoprotective effects of taurine. Although these properties are not tissue specific, taurine reaches particularly high concentrations in tissues exposed to elevated levels of oxidants (e.g., inflammatory cells). It suggests that taurine may play an important role in inflammation associated with oxidative stress. Indeed, at the site of inflammation, taurine is known to react with and detoxify hypochlorous acid generated by the neutrophil myeloperoxidase (MPO)–halide system. This reaction results in the formation of less toxic taurine chloramine (TauCl). Both haloamines, TauCl and taurine bromamine (TauBr), the product of taurine reaction with hypobromous acid (HOBr), exert antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In contrast to a well-documented regulatory role of taurine and taurine haloamines (TauCl, TauBr) in acute inflammation, their role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases is not clear. This review summarizes our current knowledge concerning the role of taurine, TauCl and TauBr in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases initiated or propagated by MPO-derived oxidants. The aim of this paper is to show links between inflammation, neutrophils, MPO, oxidative stress and taurine. We will discuss the possible contribution of taurine and taurine haloamines to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, especially in the best studied example of rheumatoid arthritis.


Taurine Taurine chloramine Taurine bromamine Inflammatory diseases Rheumatoid arthritis Neutrophils Myeloperoxidase Antioxidants