Amino Acids

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 57–72 | Cite as

Perinatal taurine exposure affects adult arterial pressure control

  • Sanya RoysommutiEmail author
  • J. Michael Wyss
Review Article


Taurine is an abundant, free amino acid found in mammalian cells that contributes to many physiologic functions from that of a simple cell osmolyte to a programmer of adult health and disease. Taurine’s contribution extends from conception throughout life, but its most critical exposure period is during perinatal life. In adults, taurine supplementation prevents or alleviates cardiovascular disease and related complications. In contrast, low taurine consumption coincides with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and type II diabetes. This review focuses on the effects that altered perinatal taurine exposure has on long-term mechanisms that control adult arterial blood pressure and could thereby contribute to arterial hypertension through its ability to program these cardiovascular regulatory mechanisms very early in life. The modifications of these mechanisms can last a lifetime and transfer to the next generation, suggesting that epigenetic mechanisms underlie the changes. The ability of perinatal taurine exposure to influence arterial pressure control mechanisms and hypertension in adult life appears to involve the regulation of growth and development, the central and autonomic nervous system, the renin–angiotensin system, glucose–insulin interaction and changes to heart, blood vessels and kidney function.


Arterial pressure Autonomic nervous system Baroreflex Blood vessels Brain Heart Hypertension Kidneys Perinatal taurine Renin–angiotensin system 



This study was supported by a grant from the Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand and by the USA National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant AT 00477 (JMW).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineKhon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand
  2. 2.Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative BiologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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