Taurine depletion and cardiovascular disease in adult cats fed a potassium-depleted acidified diet

Steven W. Dow From the Department of Pathology (Dow, Fettman, Smith, Hamar), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523; Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories (Ching), West Point, PA, 19486; and Department of Physiological Sciences (Rogers), University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Martin J. Fettman From the Department of Pathology (Dow, Fettman, Smith, Hamar), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523; Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories (Ching), West Point, PA, 19486; and Department of Physiological Sciences (Rogers), University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Katharine R. Smith From the Department of Pathology (Dow, Fettman, Smith, Hamar), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523; Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories (Ching), West Point, PA, 19486; and Department of Physiological Sciences (Rogers), University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Shelly V. Ching From the Department of Pathology (Dow, Fettman, Smith, Hamar), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523; Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories (Ching), West Point, PA, 19486; and Department of Physiological Sciences (Rogers), University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Dwayne W. Hamar From the Department of Pathology (Dow, Fettman, Smith, Hamar), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523; Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories (Ching), West Point, PA, 19486; and Department of Physiological Sciences (Rogers), University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Quinton R. Rogers From the Department of Pathology (Dow, Fettman, Smith, Hamar), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523; Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories (Ching), West Point, PA, 19486; and Department of Physiological Sciences (Rogers), University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

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Summary

Although low plasma taurine concentrations have been associated with congestive cardiomyopathy in cats, the cause of taurine depletion in cats consuming adequate quantities of taurine is unknown. Taurine depletion and cardiovascular disease (cardiomyopathy and thromboembolism) developed unexpectedly in 3 of 6 healthy adult cats during a potassium-depletion study. Plasma taurine concentration decreased significantly (P < 0.05) and rapidly over an 8-week period (from 98 to 36 nmol/ml) in 6 cats that consumed a potassium-deficient diet (0.20% potassium, dry matter basis) that was acidified with 0.8% ammonium chloride, despite containing dietary taurine concentrations (0.12% dry matter basis) in excess of amounts currently recommended. Taurine concentrations were significantly lower in cats fed the acidified diet than in 6 cats fed a potassium-deficient diet that was not acidified (36 nmol/ml vs 75 nmol/ml) after 8 weeks. In addition, plasma taurine concentrations did not decrease over a 6-month period in 8 cats that were fed a potassium-replete diet with acidifier. Plasma taurine concentrations were lowest in 3 cats that died of cardiovascular disease in the group receiving potassium-deficient, acidified diets. These data indicated an association between taurine and potassium balance in cats and suggested that development of taurine depletion and cardiovascular disease may be linked to concurrent potassium depletion.

Summary

Although low plasma taurine concentrations have been associated with congestive cardiomyopathy in cats, the cause of taurine depletion in cats consuming adequate quantities of taurine is unknown. Taurine depletion and cardiovascular disease (cardiomyopathy and thromboembolism) developed unexpectedly in 3 of 6 healthy adult cats during a potassium-depletion study. Plasma taurine concentration decreased significantly (P < 0.05) and rapidly over an 8-week period (from 98 to 36 nmol/ml) in 6 cats that consumed a potassium-deficient diet (0.20% potassium, dry matter basis) that was acidified with 0.8% ammonium chloride, despite containing dietary taurine concentrations (0.12% dry matter basis) in excess of amounts currently recommended. Taurine concentrations were significantly lower in cats fed the acidified diet than in 6 cats fed a potassium-deficient diet that was not acidified (36 nmol/ml vs 75 nmol/ml) after 8 weeks. In addition, plasma taurine concentrations did not decrease over a 6-month period in 8 cats that were fed a potassium-replete diet with acidifier. Plasma taurine concentrations were lowest in 3 cats that died of cardiovascular disease in the group receiving potassium-deficient, acidified diets. These data indicated an association between taurine and potassium balance in cats and suggested that development of taurine depletion and cardiovascular disease may be linked to concurrent potassium depletion.

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