Myocardial failure in cats associated with low plasma taurine: a reversible cardiomyopathy

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Science  14 Aug 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4816, pp. 764-768
DOI: 10.1126/science.3616607


Thousands of pet cats die each year with dilated cardiomyopathy, the cause of which is unknown. Although taurine is present in millimolar concentrations in the myocardium of all mammals, taurine depletion has not previously been associated with a decrease in myocardial function in any species. In this study, low plasma taurine concentrations associated with echocardiographic evidence of myocardial failure were observed in 21 cats fed commercial cat foods and in 2 of 11 cats fed a purified diet containing marginally low concentrations of taurine for 4 years. Oral supplementation of taurine resulted in increased plasma taurine concentrations and was associated with normalization of left ventricular function in both groups of cats. Since myocardial concentrations of taurine are directly related to plasma concentrations and low plasma concentrations were found to be associated with myocardial failure in cats, a direct link between decreased taurine concentration in the myocardium and decreased myocardial mechanical function is proposed.

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