Taurine 11 pp 155-162 | Cite as

Role of Taurine in Testicular Function in the Fragile x Mouse

  • Shumei Lin
  • Abdeslem El IdrissiEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1155)


Fragile X syndrome is an X-linked dominant disorder and the most common cause of inherited mental retardation. It is caused by trinucleotide repeat expansion in the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1) at the Xq27.3. The expansion blocks expression of the gene product, Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP). The syndrome includes mild to moderate mental retardation and behavioral manifestations such as tactile defensiveness, gaze avoidance, repetitive motor mannerisms, perseverative (repetitive) speech, hyperarousal and it frequently includes seizures. This behavioral phenotype overlaps significantly with autism spectrum disorder. The knockout mice lack normal Fmr1 protein and show macro-orchidism, learning deficits, and hyperactivity. Consequently, this knockout mouse may serve as a valuable tool in the elucidation of the physiological role of FMR1 and the mechanisms involved in macroorchidism, abnormal behavior, abnormalities comparable to those of human fragile X patients. In this study we evaluated the effects of taurine on the testicular physiology to better understand the cellular mechanisms underlying macro-orchidism. We found that there was a significant decrease in the number of Leydig cells in the testis of fragile X mouse. Furthermore, the expression of somatostatin was drastically decreased and differential expression pattern of CDK5 in fragile X mouse testis. In the control testis, CDK is expressed in primary and secondary spermatids whereas in the Fmr1 ko mice CDK 5 is expressed mainly in spermatogonia. Taurine supplementation led to an increase in CDK5 expression in both controls and Ko mice. CDKs (Cyclin-dependent kinases) are a group of serine/threonine protein kinases activated by binding to a regulatory subunit cyclin. Over 20 functionally diverse proteins involved in cytoskeleton dynamics, cell adhesion, transport, and membrane trafficking act as CDK5 substrates elucidating the molecular mechanisms of CDK5 function. CDK5 phosphorylates a diverse list of substrates, implicating it in the regulation of a range of cellular processes. CDK5 is expressed in Leydig cells, Sertoli cells, spermatogonia and peritubular cells indicating a role in spermatogenesis. In this study we examined the expression levels of CDK5 and how it is affected by taurine supplementation in the testes and found that taurine plays an important role in testicular physiology and corrected some of the pathophysiology observed in the fragile x mouse testis.


Taurine Fragile X Autism Testes CDK5 Leydig cells Somatostatin P450scc Steroidogenesis 



cyclin-dependent kinase




P450 side chain cleavage

Fmr1 KO

fragile x knockout mice



This work was supported by CDN, PSC-CUNY and CSI. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This chapter was modified from the paper published by our group in Results Probl Cell Differ (El Idrissi et al. 2012; 54:201–21) in Neuroscience Letters, (El Idrissi et al. 2005; 377:141–146) and Adv Exp Med Biol (El Idrissi et al. 2009; 191–198). The related contents are re-used with the permission.


  1. Arany E, Strutt B, Romanus P et al (2004) Taurine supplement in early life al-tered islet morphology, decreased insulitis and delayed the onset of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Diabetologia 47:1831–1837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bakker CE, Verheij C, Willemsen R, van der Helm R, Oerlemans F, Vermeij M, Bygrave A, Hoogeveen AT, Oostra BA, Reyniers E, De Boulle K, D’Hooge R, Cras P, van Velzen D, Nagels G, Marti JJ, De Deyn P, Darby JK, Willems PJ (1994) Fmr1 knockout mice: a model to study fragile X mental retarda-tion. Cell 78:23–33Google Scholar
  3. Boujendar S, Reusens B, Merezak S et al (2002) Taurine supplementation to a low protein diet during foetal and early postnatal life restores a normal prolif-eration and apoptosis of rat pancreatic islets. Diabetologia 45:856–866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen L, Toth M (2001) Fragile X mice develop sensory hyperreactivity to audito-ry stimuli. Neurosci 103:1043–1050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cherif H, Reusens B, Dahri S et al (1996) Stimulatory effects of taurine on insu-lin secretion by fetal rat islets cultured in vitro. J Endocrinol 151:501–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dahri S, Snoeck A, Reusens-Billen B et al (1991) Islet function in offspring of mothers on low-protein diet during gestation. Diabetes 40(Suppl 2):115–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. El Idrissi A (2006) Taurine and brain excitability. Adv Exp Med Biol 583:315–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. El Idrissi A, Trenkner E (1999) Growth factors and taurine protect against ex-citotoxicity by stabilizing calcium homeostasis and energy metabolism. J Neurosci 19:9459–9468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. El Idrissi A, Trenkner E (2004) Taurine as a modulator of excitatory and in-hibitory neurotransmission. Neurochem Res 29:189–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. El Idrissi A, Messing J, Scalia J, Trenkner E (2003) Prevention of epileptic seizures through taurine. In: Lombardini JB, Schaffer SW, Azuma J (eds) Taurine 5 beginning the 21st century, Adv. Exp. med. Biol, vol 526. Kluwer Press, New York, pp 515–525Google Scholar
  11. El Idrissi A, Ding X-H, Scalia J, Trenkner E, Brown WT, Dobkin C (2005) Decreased GABAA receptor expression in the seizure-prone fragile X mouse. Neurosci Lett 377:141–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Foos TM, Wu JY (2002) The role of taurine in the central nervous system and the modulation of intracellular calcium homeostasis. Neurochem Res 27:21–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Franconi F, Loizzo A, Ghirlanda G et al (2006) Taurine supplementation and di-abetes mellitus. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 9:32–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hagerman RJ (2002) Physical and behavioral phenotype. In: Hagerman RJ, Hagerman PJ (eds) Fragile X syndrome. Diagnosis, treatment and research. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp 3–109Google Scholar
  15. Hansen SH (2001) The role of taurine in diabetes and the development of diabet-ic complications. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 17:330–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huxtable RJ (1992) Physiological actions of taurine. Physiol Rev 72:101–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lombardini JB (1985) Effects of taurine on calcium ion uptake and protein phos-phorylation in rat retinal membrane preparations. J Neurochem 45:268–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lourenço R, Camilo ME (2002) Taurine: a conditionally essential amino acid in humans? An overview in health and disease. Nutr Hosp 17(6):262–270PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Militante JD, Lombardini JB (1998) Pharmacological characterization of the effects of taurine on calcium uptake in the rat retina. Amino Acids 99(108):15Google Scholar
  20. Merezak S, Hardikar AA, Yajnik CS, Remacle C, Reusens B (2001) Intrauterine low protein diet increases fetal beta-cell sensitivity to NO and IL-1 beta: the protective role of taurine. J Endocrinol 171:299–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Musumeci SA, Bosco P, Calabrese G, Bakker C, De Sarro GB, Elia M, Ferri R, Oostra BA (2000) Audiogenic seizures susceptibility in transgenic mice with fragile X syndrome. Epilepsia 41:19–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Riback CE, Lauterborn JC, Navetta MS, Gall CM (1993) The inferior colliculus of GEPRs contains greater numbers of cells that express glutamate decarboxylase (GAD67) mRNA. Epilepsy Res 14:105–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Saransaari P, Oja SS (2000) Taurine and neuronal cell damage. Amino Acids 19:509–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schaffer S, Takahashi K, Azuma J (2000) Role of osmoregulation in the actions of taurine. Amino Acids 19:527–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Solis JM, Herranz AS, Erreras O, Lerma J, Martin del Rio R (1988) Does taurine act as an osmoregulatory substance in the rat brain. Neurosci Lett 91:53–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Yan QJ, Asafo-adjei PK, Arnold HM, Brown RE, Bauchwitz RP (2004) A phenotypic and molecular characterization of the fmr1-tm 1 Cgr fragile X mouse. Genes Brain and Behav 3:337–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Animal Science and Veterinary MedicineShenyang Agricultural UniversityShenyangChina
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Center for Developmental NeuroscienceCollege of Staten IslandStaten IslandUSA

Personalised recommendations