N-chlorotaurine, a natural antiseptic with outstanding tolerability

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2010 Mar;65(3):399-409. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkp466. Epub 2010 Jan 6.


N-chlorotaurine, the N-chloro derivative of the amino acid taurine, is a long-lived oxidant produced by activated human granulocytes and monocytes. Supported by a high number of in vitro studies, it has mainly anti-inflammatory properties and seems to be involved in the termination of inflammation. The successful synthesis of the crystalline sodium salt (Cl-HN-CH(2)-CH(2)-SO(3)Na, NCT) facilitated its development as an endogenous antiseptic. NCT can be stored long-term at low temperatures, and it has killing activity against bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Transfer of the active chlorine to amino groups of molecules of both the pathogens and the human body (transhalogenation) enhances rather than decreases its activity, mainly because of the formation of monochloramine. Furthermore, surface chlorination after sublethal incubation times in NCT leads to a post-antibiotic effect and loss of virulence of pathogens, as demonstrated for bacteria and yeasts. Being a mild oxidant, NCT proved to be very well tolerated by human tissue in Phase I and II clinical studies. A 1% aqueous solution can be applied to the eye, skin ulcerations, outer ear canal, nasal and paranasal sinuses, oral cavity and urinary bladder, and can probably be used for inhalation. Therapeutic efficacy in Phase II studies has been shown in external otitis, purulently coated crural ulcerations and keratoconjunctivitis, so far. Based upon all presently available data, NCT seems to be an antiseptic with a very good relation between tolerability and activity. Recently, C-methylated derivatives of NCT have been invented, which are of interest because of improved stability at room temperature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Parasites / drug effects
  • Taurine / administration & dosage
  • Taurine / adverse effects
  • Taurine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Taurine / pharmacology
  • Viruses / drug effects


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Taurine
  • N-chlorotaurine