ABSTRACT: Background: Taurine (2-aminoethane sulphonic acid) is normally present in most mammalian tissues and the most abundant free amino acid in lymphocytes. It participates in various important physiological activities including modulation of the functioning of the central nervous system, cell proliferation, viability and prevention of oxidant-induced injury in many tissues. Its levels in human milk are very high which may be the most important difference from cow’s milk. In contrast, an inverse association between breast-feeding and carcinogenesis in childhood or later in life has been suggested by several studies.Methods: The study group consisted of eight healthy infants. Peripheral blood was collected and lymphocytes were cultured with either Taurine or Mitomycin C (MMC). Sister chromatid exchange in lymphocytes of the infants were calculated.Results: Statistical differences were found between untreated and MMC-treated lymphocytes, untreated and MMC plus taurine-treated lymphocytes, and between MMC and MMC plus taurine-treated lymphocytes (P = 0.012).Conclusion: The results indicated that taurine plays a protective role in MMC-induced sister chromatid exchange in human lymphocytes. The authors suggest that the high levels of taurine found in human milk may induce protecting effects from breast-feeding against DNA damage and malignancy.
Pediatrics International 05/2006; 48(3):284 - 286. · 0.63 Impact Factor