Taurine intestinal absorption and renal excretion test in diabetic patients: a pilot study

Author(s): Merheb M, Daher RT, Nasrallah M, Sabra R, Ziyadeh FN, et al.


There is evidence that diabetes is characterized by taurine deficiency (1–4), which has been linked to diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy (5–7). Taurine is involved in neuronal modulation, osmoregulation (8), and protection against oxidative stress (9). Its plasma levels are maintained within a normal range through protein intake, and de novo synthesis is limited by the activity of hepatic cysteinesulphinic acid decarboxylase, which is low in humans. Taurine depletion can occur rapidly (10), possibly leading to retinal, cardiac, neural, immune, and hemostatic dysfunction (4,11–14). The reasons for taurine deficiency in diabetes remain unclear. A decrease in the overall body pool (1,2) and/or internal redistribution between the intra- and extracellular compartments are possibilities. The former can be secondary to decreased oral intake, poor intestinal absorption, renal wasting, or a combination of factors. In diabetic rats, intestinal absorption of taurine is reduced (K.B., Camille Nassar, unpublished data), while urinary taurine excretion is enhanced (15). Kidney loss in uncontrolled diabetes is aggravated by severe hyperglycemia and ketoacidosis (4). Data are lacking, however, on urinary excretion and pharmacokinetics of taurine absorption in human diabetes with mild-to-moderate hyperglycemia. This pilot study was therefore conducted in patients with moderately impaired glucose control and in matched nondiabetic subjects to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of taurine absorption following an oral load and to elucidate the mechanism of taurine deficiency in diabetes. A total of 16 subjects were enrolled in the study: 6 patients with type 2 diabetes, 2 with type 1 diabetes, and 8 healthy subjects; subjects were pair-matched for age, sex, and BMI. …

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