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To determine whether taurine reduces blood pressure by stimulating the renal kallikrein—kinin system.The effects of taurine on blood pressure, urinary kallikrein activity and renal kallikrein gene expression were investigated in Dahl salt-sensitive (Dahl-S) rats. The specificity of the action of taurine was verified by comparison with the action of β-alanine, a carboxylic analogue of taurine. The effect of co-administration of the specific bradykinin B2 receptor antagonist Hoe 140 was also examined.Administration of taurine (3% in drinking water) for 4 weeks retarded the development of salt (4% sodium chloride diet)-induced hypertension. Systolic blood pressure at the end of the experiment was significantly higher in control rats than in taurine-treated rats. Urinary sodium excretion was not decreased by the reduction in blood pressure. The heart weight: body weight ratio was significantly lower, and urinary volume and kallikrein excretion were significantly higher, in taurine-treated rats. Renal kallikrein gene expression at weeks 1 and 4 was higher in taurine-treated rats. Systolic blood pressure 3 and 4 weeks after the administration of β-alanine was slightly, but not significantly, lower than that of untreated rats on a high-salt diet, and was accompanied by a significantly lower body weight. Urinary kallikrein excretion decreased with a high-salt diet regardless of β-alanine administration. Continuous systemic administration of Hoe 140 did not cause any significant alteration in blood pressure in Dahl-S rats that received taurine with a high-salt diet. Taurine also showed a renoprotective effect, as judged by a reduction in proteinuria.These results suggest that taurine is an effective antihypertensive agent for salt-induced hypertension. Although taurine activated renal kallikrein, further studies are required to confirm the participation of activated kallikrein in the antihypertensive, cardioprotective and renoprotective effects of taurine.