Amino Acids

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 101–110 | Cite as

Taurine and liver diseases: a focus on the heterogeneous protective properties of taurine

  • Teruo MiyazakiEmail author
  • Yasushi Matsuzaki
Invited Review


Taurine (2-aminoethylsulfonic acid) has many physiological and pharmacological functions in most tissues. It is abundantly maintained in the liver by both endogenous biosynthesis and exogenous transport, but is decreased in liver diseases. In the hepatic lobule, there are heterogeneous differences in metabolism between the pericentral (PC) and periportal regions, and the distributions of the biosynthesis capacity and specific taurine transporter expression are predominantly in the PC region. In cases of depletion of hepatic taurine level, serious liver damages were observed in the PC region. Taurine has protective effects against xenobiotics-induced liver damages in the PC region, but not xenobiotics-induced PP region damages. The xenobiotics that injure the PC region are mainly catabolized by NADPH-dependent cytochrome P450 2E1 that is also predominantly expressed in the PC region. Taurine treatment seems to be a useful agent for CYP2E1-related liver diseases with predominant damages in the PC region.


CYP2E1 Hepatic lobule Oxidative stress PC region Xenobiotics 



We thank Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., LTD. (Tokyo, Japan) for an educational grant to our taurine research. We are also grateful for the expert advises from the late Dr. Bernard Bouscarel who was associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the George Washington University, Washington DC, USA.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Joint Research CenterTokyo Medical University Ibaraki Medical CenterAmiJapan
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal MedicineTokyo Medical University Ibaraki Medical CenterAmiJapan

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