Increasing taurine intake and taurine synthesis improves skeletal muscle function in the mdx mouse model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Jessica Terrill, Gavin Pinniger, Jamie Graves, Miranda Grounds, Peter Arthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal muscle wasting disease for which there is no widely available cure. Whilst the mechanism of loss of muscle function in DMD and the mdx mouse model are not fully understood, disruptions in intracellular calcium homeostasis, inflammation and oxidative stress are implicated. We have shown that protein thiol oxidation is increased in mdx muscle, and that the indirect thiol antioxidant l-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylate (OTC), which increases cysteine availability, decreases pathology and increases in vivo strength. We propose that the protective effects of OTC are a consequence of conversion of cysteine to taurine, which has itself been shown to be beneficial to mdx pathology. This study compares the efficacy of taurine with OTC in decreasing dystropathology in mdx mice by measuring in vivo and ex vivo contractile function and measurements of inflammation and protein thiol oxidation. Increasing the taurine content of mdx muscle improved both in vivo and ex vivo muscle strength and function, potentially via anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of taurine. OTC treatment increased taurine synthesis in the liver and taurine content of mdx muscle, improved muscle function and decreased inflammation. However, OTC was less effective than taurine treatment, with OTC also decreasing body and EDL muscle weights, suggesting that OTC had some detrimental effects. These data support continued research into the use of taurine as a therapeutic intervention for DMD, and suggest that increasing dietary taurine is the better strategy for increasing taurine content and decreasing severity of dystropathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3095–3110
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


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