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Role of taurine in osmoregulation during endurance exercise

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Taurine is released by contracting muscles, but its actual role remains unspecified. In this study, we investigated whether the exercise-stimulated release of taurine from muscle into the plasma regulates the modification of osmolality induced by intramuscular osmolyte production. Six subjects performed 90 min of cycling exercise (at 70% maximum power output) on two occasions, with (HC) or without (DC) fluid intake. Taurine content was determined in plasma, blood cells and urine before and after the endurance events, together with plasma osmolality. Plasma osmolality increased by 4% in the DC experiment (P<0.01), but remained stable in the HC condition. The exercise also induced changes in the mean (SD) plasma taurine content to a greater degree in HC [+63 (26)%] than in DC [+33 (18)%; P<0.05], supporting the hypothesis that taurine is released into the plasma via an osmoregulatory process. However, the higher plasma taurine content in HC was not related to changes in renal taurine. In addition, the increase of taurine in plasma was not related to its release from blood cells since their taurine concentration increased by 70% both in HC [429 (77) to 680 (82) µM; P=0.003] and in DC [451 (57) to 731 (34) µM; P<0.001]. The lack of correlation between plasma volume modification and the mass ratio of taurine would exclude a major role for taurine exchange in plasma volume regulation. Sodium (R=0.967, P<0.001), chloride (R=0.917, P<0.001) and osmolality (R=0.924, P<0.001) seem to be the main regulators of plasma volume changes during exercise. In conclusion, changes in the plasma taurine content during endurance exercise is related to an osmoregulatory process, but this alone does not control plasma volume changes.

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Cuisinier, C., Michotte de Welle, J., Verbeeck, R.K. et al. Role of taurine in osmoregulation during endurance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 87, 489–495 (2002).

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