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Biochem J. 2003 Nov 15;376(Pt 1):109-21.

A quantitative model of the generation of N(epsilon)-(carboxymethyl)lysine in the Maillard reaction between collagen and glucose.

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Departamento de Química e Bioquímica, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Bloco C8, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.


The Maillard reaction between reducing sugars and amino groups of biomolecules generates complex structures known as AGEs (advanced glycation endproducts). These have been linked to protein modifications found during aging, diabetes and various amyloidoses. To investigate the contribution of alternative routes to the formation of AGEs, we developed a mathematical model that describes the generation of CML [ N(epsilon)-(carboxymethyl)lysine] in the Maillard reaction between glucose and collagen. Parameter values were obtained by fitting published data from kinetic experiments of Amadori compound decomposition and glycoxidation of collagen by glucose. These raw parameter values were subsequently fine-tuned with adjustment factors that were deduced from dynamic experiments taking into account the glucose and phosphate buffer concentrations. The fine-tuned model was used to assess the relative contributions of the reaction between glyoxal and lysine, the Namiki pathway, and Amadori compound degradation to the generation of CML. The model suggests that the glyoxal route dominates, except at low phosphate and high glucose concentrations. The contribution of Amadori oxidation is generally the least significant at low glucose concentrations. Simulations of the inhibition of CML generation by aminoguanidine show that this compound effectively blocks the glyoxal route at low glucose concentrations (5 mM). Model results are compared with literature estimates of the contributions to CML generation by the three pathways. The significance of the dominance of the glyoxal route is discussed in the context of possible natural defensive mechanisms and pharmacological interventions with the goal of inhibiting the Maillard reaction in vivo.

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