Perinatal taurine exposure influences renal function in adult female offspring. This study tests the hypothesis that prenatal rather than postnatal taurine exposure alters renal function in adult conscious male rats. Female Sprague Dawley rats were fed normal rat chow and tap water alone (Control), tap water containing 3% -alanine (taurine depletion, TD) or tap water containing 3% taurine (taurine supplementation, TS) either from conception until delivery (fetal period; TDF or TSF) or from delivery until weaning (lactation period; TDL or TSL). After weaning, male offspring were fed with the normal rat chow and tap water ad libitum. At 7-8 weeks of age, renal function was studied in conscious, restrained rats. Mean arterial pressures were slightly higher in rats receiving taurine supplementation during either the fetal or lactation periods (compared to Control and TD groups), but heart rates were not significantly different among groups. Effective renal blood flows were lower in TDF, TDL, and TSF rats (TDF 4.60.8 ml/min/g kidney weight (KW), TDL 3.00.9 ml/min/g KW, and TSF 2.80.7 ml/min/g KW) than in TSL (7.70.9 ml/min/g KW) or Control rats (7.31.6 ml/min/g KW). These differences were correlated with significant increases in renal vascular resistance in TDF, TDL, and TSF groups compared to TSL and Control rats. In contrast, glomerular filtration rates were not significantly different among groups. Although basal water and sodium excretion were slightly lower in TDL and TSF rats compared to other groups, their diuretic and natriuretic responses to an acute saline load were not different from Control. The present data indicate that in adult male rats, both perinatal supplementation and depletion of taurine can alter renal hemodynamics, and these effects are differentially time-dependent. © 2010 Roysommuti et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.