Abnormal Visual Acuity and Retinal Morphology in Rhesus Monkeys Fed a Taurine-Free Diet During the First Three Postnatal Months

  • Martha Neuringer
  • Humi Imaki
  • John A. Sturman
  • Roger Moretz
  • Henryk M. Wisniewski
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 217)


Over ten years ago, taurine was identified as an essential nutrient for cats (7). Without a dietary source of this amino acid, such as their natural taurine-rich diet of meat and fish, both kittens and adult cats undergo a decline in plasma and tissue taurine levels, reduced electroretinogram amplitudes with prolonged peak latencies, and progressive retinal degeneration which eventually results in blindness (8,24,26). As Dr. Sturman describes elsewhere in this volume, taurine deprivation of pregnant cats and their kittens also produces more widespread nervous system disturbances, including abnormal development of the cerebellum and visual cortex (19,27). Although cats appear to be unique in the severity of the effects produced by dietary taurine deprivation, it is now clear that they are not the only species affected. Recent studies of both human children and infant monkeys show that changes in retinal structure and function are associated with taurine deprivation.


Rhesus Monkey Outer Segment Human Infant Retinal Degeneration Cone Photoreceptor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martha Neuringer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Humi Imaki
    • 1
    • 2
  • John A. Sturman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roger Moretz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Henryk M. Wisniewski
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Oregon Regional Primate Research CenterBeavertonUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Basic Research in Developmental DisabilitiesStaten IslandUSA

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