Plasma and platelet taurine concentrations were assayed in 39 patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and in 34 control subjects matched for age, sex, and both total and protein-derived daily energy intake. Platelet aggregation induced by arachidonic acid in vitro at baseline and after oral taurine supplementation (1.5 g/d) for 90 d was also studied. Plasma and platelet taurine concentrations (mean +/- SEM) were lower in diabetic patients (65.6 +/- 3.1 mumol/L, or 0.66 +/- 0.07 mol/g protein) than in control subjects (93.3 +/- 6.3 mumol/L, or 0.99 +/- 0.16 mol/g protein, P < 0.01). After oral supplementation, both plasma and platelet taurine concentrations increased significantly in the diabetic patients, reaching the mean values of healthy control subjects. The effective dose (mean +/- SEM) of arachidonic acid required for platelets to aggregate was significantly lower in diabetic patients than in control subjects (0.44 +/- 0.07 mmol compared with 0.77 +/- 0.02 mmol, P < 0.001, whereas after taurine supplementation it equaled the mean value for healthy control subjects (0.72 +/- 0.04 mmol). In in vitro experiments, taurine reduced platelet aggregation in diabetic patients in a dose-dependent manner, whereas 10 mmol taurine/L did not modify aggregation in healthy subjects.