The objective of this study was to determine the effects of centrally administered taurine on rectal temperature, behavioral responses and brain amino acid metabolism under isolation stress and the presence of co-injected corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). Neonatal chicks were centrally injected with saline, 2.1 pmol of CRF, 2.5 µmol of taurine or both taurine and CRF. The results showed that CRF-induced hyperthermia was attenuated by co-injection with taurine. Taurine, alone or with CRF, significantly decreased the number of distress vocalizations and the time spent in active wakefulness, as well as increased the time spent in the sleeping posture, compared with the saline-and CRF-injected chicks. An amino acid chromatographic analysis revealed that diencephalic leucine, isoleucine, tyrosine, glutamate, asparagine, alanine, β-alanine, cystathionine and 3-methylhistidine were decreased in response to taurine alone or in combination with CRF. Central taurine, alone and when co-administered with CRF, decreased isoleucine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and cysteine, but increased glycine concentrations in the brainstem, compared with saline and CRF groups. The results collectively indicate that central taurine attenuated CRF-induced hyperthermia and stress behaviors in neonatal chicks, and the mechanism likely involves the repartitioning of amino acids to different metabolic pathways. In particular, brain leucine, isoleucine, cysteine, glutamate and glycine may be mobilized to cope with acute stressors.
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