This study reports an effect of taurine (1-10 mM) increasing markedly (120%) the number of neural precursor cells (NPCs) from adult mouse subventricular zone, cultured as neurospheres. This effect is one of the highest reported for adult neural precursor cells. Taurine-containing cultures showed 73-120% more cells than controls, after 24 and 96 h in culture, respectively. Taurine effect is due to enhanced proliferation as assessed by BrdU incorporation assays. In taurine cultures BrdU incorporation was markedly higher than controls from 1.5 to 48 h, with the maximal difference found at 1.5 h. This effect of taurine reproduced at every passage with the same window time. Taurine effects are not mimicked by glycine, alanine or GABA. Clonal efficiency values of 3.6% for taurine cultures and 1.3% for control cultures suggest a taurine influence on both, progenitor and stem cells. Upon differentiation, the proportion of neurons in control and taurine cultures was 3.1% (+/- 0.5) and 10.2% (+/- 0.8), respectively. These results are relevant for taurine implication in brain development as well as in adult neurogenesis. Possible mechanisms underlying taurine effects on cell proliferation are discussed. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.