Taurine and GABA neurotransmitter receptors, a relationship with therapeutic potential?
Taurine is a β-amino acid present in high concentrations in different areas of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). It participates in different physiological processes such as osmoregulation, signal transduction, antioxidant activity, trophic factor activity, modulation of calcium movements and neurotransmission. It is known that taurine is an agonist of GABAA receptors, and their affinity depends of the subunits that conform this receptor. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter of the CNS and exerts its effect through the activation of two types of specific receptors, called GABAA and GABAB. In the last years, changes in the expression pattern of the GABAA receptors subunits has been related to pathologies, such as epilepsy, depression and alcoholism, among others. This changes in the GABAA receptors conformation might be responsible of the loss in the effectiveness of the different drugs used in clinic protocols. Therefore, considering the physiological properties of taurine and the capacity to interact with GABAA receptors conformed by different subunits combinations, it is clear their great potential for the design of new pharmacological strategies aimed to treat the pathologies where GABA has shown a relevant participation.