The Effects of Chronic Taurine Supplementation on Motor Learning
Taurine is one of the most abundant nonprotein amino acids shown to be essential for the development, survival, and growth of vertebrate neurons. We previously demonstrated that chronic taurine supplementation during neonatal development results in changes in the GABAergic system (El Idrissi, Neurosci Lett 436:19–22, 2008). The brains of mice chronically treated with taurine have decreased levels of GABAAβ subunits and increased expression of GAD and GABA, which contributes to hyperexcitability. This down regulation of GABAAreceptor subunit expression and function may be due to a sustained interaction of taurine with GABAAreceptors. This desensitization decreases the efficacy of the inhibitory synapses at the postsynaptic membrane. If changes occur in the GABAergic system as a possible compensatory mechanism due to taurine administration, then it is important to study all aspects by which taurine induces hyperexcitability and affects motor behavior. We therefore hypothesized that modification of the GABAergic system in response to taurine supplementation influences motor learning capacity in mice. To test this hypothesis, the rotarod task was employed after chronic taurine supplementation in drinking water (0.05% for 4 weeks). Control animals receiving no taurine supplementation were also tested in order to determine the difference in motor learning ability between groups. Each animal was trained on the rotarod apparatus for 7 days at an intermediate speed of 24 rpm in order to establish baseline performance. On the testing day, each animal was subjected to eight different predefined speeds (5, 8, 15, 20, 24, 31, 33, and 44 rpm). From our observations, the animals that underwent chronic taurine supplementation appeared to have a diminished motor learning capacity in comparison to control animals. The taurine-fed mice displayed minor improvements after repeated training when compared to controls. During the testing session the taurine-fed mice also exhibited a shorter latency to fall, as the task requirements became more demanding.
KeywordsMotor Learning Supplementary Motor Area Postsynaptic Membrane GABAergic System Minor Improvement
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