Shape and size changes induced by taurine depletion in neonatal cardiomyocytes

S. W. Schaffer, C. Ballard-Croft, J. Azuma, K. Takahashi, D. G. Kakhniashvili, T. E. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Taurine is a very important organic osmolyte in most adult cells. Because of this property it has been proposed that large changes in the intracellular content of taurine can osmotically stress the cell, causing changes in its size and shape. This hypothesis was examined by measuring cell dimensions of taurine deficient cardiomyocytes using confocal microscopy. Incubation of isolated neonatal rat myocytes with medium containing 5mM β-alanine led to a 55% decrease in intracellular taurine content. Associated with the loss of taurine was a reduction in cell size. Two factors contributed to the change in cell size. First, there was a shift in cell shape, favoring the smaller of the two cellular configurations commonly found in the myocyte cell culture. Second, the size of the polyhedral configuration was reduced after β-alanine treatment. These same two events also contributed to size reduction in cardiomyocytes incubated with medium containing 30 mM mannitol. Nonetheless, some qualitative differences exist between cells osmotically stressed by increasing the osmolality of the incubation medium and decreasing intracellular osmolality. The results support a role for taurine in the regulation of osmotic balance in the neonatal cardiomyocyte.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalAmino Acids
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Amino acids
  • Cell shape
  • Cell size
  • Osmoregulation
  • Taurine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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