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Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Dr. J. Barry Lombardini - Joint Appointment

Professor of Pharmacology
Ph.D., 1968, University of California, San Francisco

Role of Taurine in Mammalian Tissues

Taurine, 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is present in high concentrations in all mammalian tissues. However, the function of taurine is not known. In our laboratory we are currently investigating the effects of taurine on ATP-dependent calcium ion uptake and protein phosphorylation in the retina of the rat. While other investigators are responsible for the initial observation that taurine stimulates calcium ion uptake, we have correlated an inhibitory effect of taurine on protein phosphorylation with the stimulatory effect on calcium ion uptake. In our model, calcium ion uptake in the mitochondria is ATP-dependent. ATP also activates a kinase which phosphorylates a gate. The gate is open when phosphorylated and thus allows calcium ions to back-flow to the outside with the concentration gradient. The regulatory effect of taurine is to inhibit the kinase system thereby closing the gate and thus preventing calcium ions from leaking out of the mitochondria. The net effect is that the calcium ion concentration is the presence of taurine is increased in the mitochondria.

Our other interests involve the effects of taurine in the cardiovascular system, specifically cardiomyopathies due to diabetes and the treatment of hypertension with taurine.

For a complete list of publications by J. Barry Lombardini in PubMed, click here

For further information contact Dr. J. Barry Lombardini