Plasma concentration of taurine is higher in malnourished than control children: differences between kwashiorkor and marasmus

Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
L Lima, E Jaffé


Plasma free amino acids were determined in the plasma of severely malnourished children under two years of age. A total of thirty-one patients and eleven controls were evaluated: seventeen cases of kwashiorkor, eight cases of marasmus, and six cases of marasmic-kwashiorkor. Fasting plasma samples were taken in the morning on the day of admission. Fasting plasma samples were also taken from nine patients at discharge after two months in the hospital where they received a balanced diet as treatment. A partial reversal of the signs of malnutrition was observed at discharge. In the whole group of patients ad admission, lower concentrations of tyrosine, methionine, tryptophan, and leucine and higher concentrations of aspartate, glutamate, and taurine were observed compared to controls. Taurine continued to be elevated in the malnourished group at the time of discharge. Marasmic children, as compared to controls, had high aspartate and low tryptophan levels, but taurine levels were not significantly different from controls. Kwashiorkor patients had low tyrosine, methionine, tryptophan, and lysine, and significantly higher taurine plasma levels. The elevated concentration of taurine might be the result of a redistribution of this amin...Continue Reading

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