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AIMS: Despite its high concentration in pancreatic islets of Langerhans and broad range of antihyperglycemic effects, the route facilitating the import of dietary taurine into pancreatic β-cell and mechanisms underlying its insulinotropic activity are unclear. We therefore studied the impact of taurine on beta-cell function, alongside that of other small neutral amino acids, L-alanine and L-proline. MAIN METHODS: Pharmacological profiling of insulin secretion was conducted using clonal BRIN BD11 β-cells, the impact of taurine on the metabolic fate of glucose carbons was assessed using NMR and the findings were verified by real-time imaging of Ca2+ dynamics in the cytosol of primary mouse and human islet beta-cells. KEY FINDINGS: In our hands, taurine, alanine and proline induced secretory responses that were dependent on the plasma membrane depolarisation, import of Ca2+, homeostasis of K+ and Na+ as well as on cell glycolytic and oxidative metabolism. Taurine shifted the balance between the oxidation and anaplerosis towards the latter, in BRIN BD11 beta-cells. Furthermore, the amino acid signalling was significantly attenuated by inhibition of Na+-K+-Cl- symporter (NKCC). SIGNIFICANCE: These data suggest that taurine, like L-alanine and L-proline, acutely induces glucose-dependent insulin-secretory responses by modulating electrogenic Na+ transport, with potential role of intracellular K+ and Cl- in the signal transduction. The acute action delineated would be consistent with antidiabetic potential of dietary taurine supplementation.

Original publication




Journal article


Life Sci

Publication Date





Amino acids, Ca(2+) dynamics, Insulin secretion, Na(+)-K(+)-Cl(−) transporter, Oxidative metabolism, Taurine, Mice, Animals, Humans, Insulin, Taurine, Amino Acids, Neutral, Cell Line, Islets of Langerhans, Alanine, Glucose, Hypoglycemic Agents, Proline