Xu, TL (reprint author), Univ Sci & Technol China, Sch Life Sci, Audit Res Lab, Hefei 230027, Peoples R China,firstname.lastname@example.org
Taurine is an important endogenous amino acid for neural development and for many physiological functions,but little is known about its functional role in the central auditory system. We investigated in young rats (P10-P14) the effects of taurine on the neuronal responses and synaptic transmissions in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICC) with a brain slice preparation and with whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. Perfusion of taurine at I mM reliably evoked a current across the membrane and decreased the input resistance in neurons of the ICC. Taurine also depressed the spontaneous and current-evoked firing of ICC neurons. All these effects were reversible after washout and could be blocked by 3 mu M strychnine, an antagonist of glycine receptors, but not by 10 mu M bicuculline, an antagonist of GABA(A) receptors. When the inhibitory receptors were not pharmacologically blocked, taurine reversibly reduced the postsynaptic currents/potentials evoked by electrically stimulating the commissure of the inferior colliculus or the ipsilateral lateral lemniscus. The results demonstrate that taurine reduces the neuronal excitability and depresses the synaptic transmission in the ICC by activating glycine-gated chloride channels. Our findings suggest that taurine acts as a ligand of glycine receptors in the ICC and can be involved in the information processing of the central auditory system similarly like the neuro transmitter glycine. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.