Taurine Enhances Stretch Reflex Excitability
The purpose of this study was to characterize the effects of taurine (supplementation and acute injection) on the stretch reflex in the ankle muscles, and in particular to compare the effects of chronic taurine supplementation versus acute injection on the muscle tension, amplitude of electromyogram and velocity of muscle response. Stretch reflex responses were evoked using a specialized stretching device designed for mice. The triceps surae muscle of an awake mouse was stretched at various speeds ranging from 500 to 500,000° per second. A transducer recorded the muscle resistance at each velocity and the corresponding EMG. We found that at each velocity, the taurine-fed mice generated more tension and exhibited a higher EMG response. Acute taurine injection did not affect the tension but significantly reduced the EMG. To evaluate if the enhances response was due to neuronal excitability of changes in the passive properties of the muscles, we anesthetize the mice to eliminate the central component of the reflex. Under these conditions, taurine-fed mice still exhibited an enhanced stretch reflex response. We have previously shown that taurine-fed mice have reduced expression of GABAA receptors and other biochemical changes in the GABAergic system that are consistent with hyper-excitability. GABAA receptor is a major component of the inhibitory (GABAergic) system and its reduced expression probably contributes to the enhanced stretch reflex in these mice through biochemical mechanisms that involve alterations not only at the spinal level but also at the cortical level.
KeywordsStretch reflex Taurine supplementation Motor neuron Electromyogram Muscle spindle
glutamic acid decarboxylase
cysteine sulfonic acid decarboxylase
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 Neuroscience (El Idrissi A, L’Amoreaux WJ. (2008) El Idrissi et al., 156 (3):693–699). The related contents are re-used with the permission.
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