Taurine status in cats is not maintained by dietary cysteinesulfinic acid

Susan E. Edgar, Claudia A. Kirk, Quinton Rogers, James Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Endogenous synthesis of taurine by cats is limited. Putative precursors of taurine, cysteinesulfinic acid and cysteic acid, were fed to cats to determine whether they were utilized. Groups of five cats were depleted of taurine by a resin (Colestipol®) diet, then given 6 dietary treatments containing (g/kg diet): 0.0, 0.4, or 0.8 taurine; or 0.98 or 1.96 cysteinesulfinic acid, or 0.4 taurine + 1.0 cysteic acid for 12 wk. Plasma and whole blood taurine concentrations and body weights were measured weekly. Concentration of taurine in semitendinosus muscle was measured initially, after 2 wk of taurine depletion (after resin-diet), and monthly thereafter. The resin diet decreased concentrations of taurine in plasma, whole blood, and muscle to 0.20, 0.49, and 0.37 of initial values, respectively. Cysteinesulfinic acid diets resulted in no significant (P > 0.05) increase in the concentration of taurine in plasma, whole blood, or muscle, and no increased excretion of cysteinesulfinate or taurine in urine or feces. Cats fed the diets containing 1.0 g cysteic acid + 0.4 g taurine, or 0.8 g taurine/kg diet had similar concentrations of taurine in plasma, whole blood, and muscle. Aminotransferase activity for cysteinesulfinic acid in the liver and intestinal mucosa of cats and rats was higher than that for aspartic or cysteic acids. Transamination of dietary cysteinesulfinic acid to β- sulfinylpyruvate (which spontaneously decomposes), rather than decarboxylation is postulated as the basis for no detectable conversion to taurine. In contrast, cysteic acid is reversibly transaminated to β- sulfopyruvate which is stable and thereby is a precursor for taurine in cats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-757
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998


  • Cats
  • Cysteic acid
  • Cysteinesulfinic acid
  • Sulfur amino acids
  • Taurine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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