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Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):21-4. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1165-y. Epub 2011 Nov 27.

Reduced muscle carnosine content in type 2, but not in type 1 diabetic patients.

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  • 1Department of Biodynamic of Human Movement, School of Physical Education and Sports, University of Sao Paulo, Av. Prof. Mello Moraes, 65 Butanta, Sao Paulo, SP, 05508-030, Brazil.


Carnosine is present in high concentrations in skeletal muscle where it contributes to acid buffering and functions also as a natural protector against oxidative and carbonyl stress. Animal studies have shown an anti-diabetic effect of carnosine supplementation. High carnosinase activity, the carnosine degrading enzyme in serum, is a risk factor for diabetic complications in humans. The aim of the present study was to compare the muscle carnosine concentration in diabetic subjects to the level in non-diabetics. Type 1 and 2 diabetic patients and matched healthy controls (total n=58) were included in the study. Muscle carnosine content was evaluated by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (3 Tesla) in soleus and gastrocnemius. Significantly lower carnosine content (-45%) in gastrocnemius muscle, but not in soleus, was shown in type 2 diabetic patients compared with controls. No differences were observed in type 1 diabetic patients. Type II diabetic patients display a reduced muscular carnosine content. A reduction in muscle carnosine concentration may be partially associated with defective mechanisms against oxidative, glycative and carbonyl stress in muscle.

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