Perinatal taurine depletion and high sugar diets blunted baroreflex function and heightens sympathetic nerve activity in adult rats. Cardiac ischemia/reperfusion also produces these disorders and taurine treatment appears to improve these effects. This study tests the hypothesis that perinatal taurine exposure predisposes recovery from reperfusion injury in rats on either a basal or high sugar diet. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed normal rat chow with 3% beta-alanine (taurine depletion, TD), 3% taurine (taurine supplementation, TS) or water alone (control, C) from conception to weaning. Male offspring were fed normal rat chow and water containing 5% glucose (G) or water alone (W) throughout the experiment. At 7-8 weeks of age, all rats were anesthetized and their trachea clamped until cardiac arrest occurred and mean arterial pressure fell below 60 mm Hg. The clamp was immediately released and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed with cardiac function returning within 4 min. Twenty-four hours later, arterial pressure, heart rate, and baroreflex function were measured in conscious and one day later in anesthetized conditions. Basic blood chemistry and circulating markers of cardiac injury were also measured. Baroreflex sensitivity was depressed moderately in CG and TDW, and severely in TDG. TSW displayed increased baroreflex and high sugar intake returned it to CW. Sympathetic nerve activity increased and parasympathetic decreased in TDW but not TSW and these effects were exacerbated sharply in TDG and slightly in TSG. Arterial pressure and heart rate increased in all groups but to a lesser degree in TDG. Plasma aspartate aminotransferase increased in all groups except TSW, but the increase was nearly 3X greater in TDG vs. any other group. Creatine kinase-MB increased in all groups except TSG and was far greater in TD than other groups. Troponin-T and brain natriuretic peptide were greatly increased in TDG compared to all other groups. Thus, perinatal taurine depletion increases injury from cardiac ischemia/reperfusion, and in adult rats on a high sugar diet, these effects are greatly exacerbated. © 2010 Roysommuti et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.