Taurine 3 pp 407-413 | Cite as

The Role of Taurine in Osmotic, Mechanical, and Chemical Protection of the Retinal Rod outer Segments

  • Andranik M. Petrosian
  • Jasmine E. Haroutounian
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 442)


The ability of the photoreceptor cell to resist osmotic stress was examined by incubating isolated frog retina in medium of varying osmolality. An electron microscopic analysis of the rod outer segment following a severe hypoosmotic insult revealed connections between adjacent disks and between disk rims and the plasma membrane, which presumably provide mechanical stability to the rod outer segment. One surprising result was the extent of the damage incurred by the electrical signaling pathway of the photoreceptor cells subjected to a 50 mOsm insult; only the distal Plll component of the ERG remained unaffected. Thus, the rod outer segment is particularly resistant to osmotic-induced injury, presumably because of the effective osmoregulatory actions of taurine. Incubation of retina with tauret, retinylidentaurine, uncovered rose-like hexagonal structures on the surface of the rod outer segment. These structures purportedly consist of connections between disk rims and the plasma membrane of the rod outer segments. Based on the influence of tauret, it is likely that the calcium dependence of these channels is selective for retinoids. These data are discussed relative to taurine’s role in the process of rhodopsin regeneration and in the protection of the rod outer segments against osmotic, mechanical and light induced damage.


Photoreceptor Cell High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscopy Retinal Cell Type Rana Ridibunda Taurine Deficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Altshuler, D., Lo-Turco, J.J., Rush, J., and Cepko, A., 1993, Taurine promotes the differentiation of a vertebrate retinal cell type in vitro, Development, 119:1317–1328.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Apkarian, R.A., 1994, Analysis of high quality monoatomic chromium films used in biological high resolution scanning electron microscopy, Scanning Microscopy, 8:289–301.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cohen, A.J., 1971, Electron microscopic observations on form changes in photoreceptor outer segments and their saccules in response to osmotic stress, J. Cell Biol., 48:547–565.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dontsov, A.E., Sakina, N.L., and Boulton, M.A., 1991, Taurine stimulates phagocytosis in retinal pigment epithelium, Bio. Membranes (Russ.), 8:1197–1198.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gabrielian, K., Wang, H.M., Ogden, T.E., and Ryan, S.J., 1992, In vitro stimulation of retinal pigment epithelium proliferation by taurine, Curr. Eye Res., 11:481–487.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Goldstein, L., Davis, E.M., 1994, Taurine, betaine, and inositol share a volume-sensitive transporter in skate erythrocyte cell membrane, Am. J. Physiol., 267:426–431.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hayes, K., Garey, R., and Schmidt, S., 1975, Retinal degeneration associated with taurine deficiency in the cat, Science, 188:945–951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Heller, Jr., Ostwald, T., and Bok, D., 1971, The osmotic behavior of rod photoreceptor outer segment disks, J. Cell Biol., 48:633–649.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Imaki, H., Jacobson, S.G., Kemp, C.M., Knighton, R.W., Neuringer, M., and Sturman, J., 1993, Retinal morphology and visual pigment levels in 6-and 12-month-old rhesus monkeys fed a taurine-free human infant formula, J. Neurosci. Res., 36:290–304.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kanli, H., Fugelli, K., and Terreros, D., 1995, Taurine efflux is a part of the osmoregulatory response in proximal renal tubules of the teleost Carassius auratus, in: “Abstracts of International Taurine Symposiu. 1995”, Osaka, Japan, pp. 100.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Korenbrot, J.I. and Cone, R.A., 1972, Dark ionic flux and the effect of light in isolated rod outer segments, J. Gen. Physiol., 60:20–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lake, N., 1989, The role of taurine in retinal function, in: “Extracellular and Intracellular Messengers in the Vertebrate Retina”, Alan R. Liss, Inc., pp. 61-86.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lake, N. and Orlowski, J., 1995, Cellular studies of the taurine transporter, in: “Abstracts of International Taurine Symposiu. 1995”, Osaka, Japan. pp. 43.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lake, N. and Verdone-Smith, C., 1989, Immunocytochemical localization of taurine in the mammalian retina, Curr. Eye Res., 8:163–173.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lambert, I.H. and Hoffmann, E.K., 1994, Cell swelling activates separate taurine and chloride channels in Ehrlich mouse ascites tumor cells, J. Mentb. Biol., 142:289–298.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lehmann, A. and Ottersen, O.P., 1993, Neuronal-glial exchange of taurine during hypo-osmotic stress: a combined immunocytochemical and biochemical analysis in rat cerebellar cortex, Neuroscience, 540:615–631.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lima, L., Drujan, B., and Matus, P., 1990, Spatial distribution of taurine in the teleost retina and its role in retinal tissue regeneration, in: “Taurine: Functional Neurochemistry, Physiology and Cardiology”, Pasantes-Morales, H., Martin, D.L., Shain, W., and Martin del Rio, R., eds., Wiley-Liss, Inc., New York, Vol. 351, pp. 103–112.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lombardini, J.B., 1991, Taurine: retinal function, Brain Res. Rev., 16:151–169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pasantes-Morales, H., 1986, Current concepts on the role of taurine in the retina, in: “Progress in Retina Research”, Osborne, N. and Chader, J., eds., Vol. 5, pp. 207.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pasantes-Morales, H. and Cruz, C., 1985, Taurine and hypotaurine inhibit light-induced lipid peroxidation and protect rod outer segment structure, Brain Res., 330:154–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pasantes-Morales, H., Lopez-Escalera, R., and Macedo, M.D., 1989, Taurine and ionic fluxes in photoreceptors, in: “Extracellular and Intracellular Messengers in the Vertebrate Retina”, Alan R. Liss, Inc., pp. 87-104.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Petrosian, A.M. and Haroutounian, J.E., 1988, On the possibility of retinal transportation in rods by tauret through special channels, Abstr. 13th All-Union Conf. on Electron Microscopy (Russ.), Zvenigorod, Moscow.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Petrosian, A.M. and Haroutounian, J.E., 1990, Tauret: further studies of the role of taurine in retina, in: “Taurine: Functional Neurochemistry, Physiology and Cardiology”, Pasantes-Morales, H., Martin, D. L., Shain, W., and Martin del Rio, R., eds., Wiley-Liss, Inc., New York, Vol. 351, pp. 471–475.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Petrosian, A.M. and Haroutounian, J.E., 1994, On the nature of linkage between retinal rod outer segment disk and cellular membrane, in: Proc. 52nd Ann. Meeting of the MSA, Bayley, G.W. and Garran-Reed, A.J., eds., San Francisco Press Inc., pp. 28-29.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Petrosian, A.M., Haroutounian, J.E., Zueva, L.V., 1996, A taurine-related endogenous substance in the retina and its role in vision, in: “Taurine 2”, Huxtable R.J., et al. eds., Plenum Press, New York, Vol. 403, pp. 333–342.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Petrossian, A.M., Mchitarian, R.G., and Stepanian, S., 1979, Investigation of retinal rod intradisk spaces by X-ray and electronmicroscopic histochemistry, Proceed. 7th All-Union Conf., “Local X-ray and spectral investigations and their apply”, Chernogolovka, Moscow, pp. 166–168.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Popov, V.I, Matorin, D.N., Gostimsky, S.V., Tageeva, S.V., and Alakhverdov, B.L., 1981, Ultrastructural organization of chloroplast membranes in mutants of Pisum sativum L. with impaired activity in the photosystems, Planta, 151:512–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Schmidt, S.Y., Berson, EX., Watson, G., and Huang, C., 1977, Retinal degeneration in cats fed casein. III, Taurine deficiency and ERG amplitudes, Invest. Ophthal. Vis. Sci., 16:673–678.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Voaden, M.J., Lake, N., Marshall, J., and Morjaria, B., 1977, Studies on the distribution of taurine and other neuroactive amino acids in the retina, Exp. Eye Res., 25:249–257.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andranik M. Petrosian
    • 1
  • Jasmine E. Haroutounian
    • 1
  1. 1.Buniatian Institute of BiochemistryNational Academy of Sciences of ArmeniaYerevan 14Armenia

Personalised recommendations