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Hypertens Res. 2001 Jul;24(4):453-7.

Distribution of twenty-four hour urinary taurine excretion and association with ischemic heart disease mortality in 24 populations of 16 countries: results from the WHO-CARDIAC study.

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Department of Environmental Preservation and Development, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Japan.


There is considerable interest in the association between taurine (2-aminoethanesufonic acid) and risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD), but little information has been made available on the distribution of taurine in populations around the world. The present study aimed to describe the differences in taurine excretion levels and their associations with IHD mortality rates in 24 populations in 16 countries worldwide. This was a multicenter cross-sectional study. In each center, 100 men and 100 women aged 48-56 years were selected randomly from the local populations. Twenty-four hour urinary taurine excretion was measured using an amino acid analyzer (Hitachi 835, Ibaragi, Japan). Age-adjusted IHD mortality rates in the relevant populations were calculated using the direct standard method. The results indicated that (a) percentiles 25%, 50% and 75% of the distributions of 24-h taurine excretion showed large variations in the study populations. Median values of taurine ranged from 191.6 micromol/day (St John, Canada) to 2,180.6 micromol/day (Beppu, Japan) in males, and from 127.5 micromol/day (Moscow, Russia) to 1,590.0 micromol/day (Beppu, Japan) in females. The highest overall median value of taurine was found in the Japanese population samples, followed by the Chinese samples (Shanghai and Taiwan). European, North American and oceanic Caucasians, however, had much lower median values of taurine, except in the cases of the samples from France and Spain. (b) Median values of taurine were significantly associated negatively with age-adjusted IHD mortality rates across the 24 study population samples in men (R2=0.42, p<0.01), and in women (R2=0.55, p<0.01). These negative associations remained significant after adjustment for serum total cholesterol, body mass index and urinary sodium to potassium ratios. In conclusion, the study provides, for the first time, a cross-sectional database on distribution of 24-h urinary taurine excretion in 24 population samples worldwide. A strong and inverse association between population levels of taurine excretion and IHD mortality was observed.

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