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Eur J Pharmacol. 2012 May 5;682(1-3):56-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2012.02.005. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Carnosine has antinociceptive properties in the inflammation-induced nociceptive response in mice.

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Second Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyushu University of Health and Welfare, 1714-1 Yoshino-machi, Nobeoka-shi, Miyazaki 882-8508 Japan.


Carnosine is a biologically active dipeptide that is found in fish and chicken muscle. Recent studies have revealed that carnosine has neuroprotective activity in zinc-induced neural cell apoptosis and ischemic stroke. In the present study, we examined the expression of carnosine in the spinal cord, and the antinociceptive potency of carnosine in a mouse model of inflammation-induced nociceptive pain. Immunohistochemical studies with antiserum against carnosine showed an abundance of carnosine-immunoreactivity in the dorsal horn of the mouse spinal cord. Double-immunostaining techniques revealed that carnosine was expressed in the neurons and astrocytes in the spinal cord. Oral administration of carnosine attenuated the number of writhing behaviors induced by the intraperitoneal administration of 0.6% acetic acid. Treatment with carnosine also attenuated the second phase, but not the first phase, of the nociceptive response to formalin. Moreover, intrathecal, but not intraplanter, administration of carnosine attenuated the second phase of the nociceptive response to formalin. Our immunohistochemical and behavioral data suggest that carnosine has antinociceptive effects toward inflammatory pain, which may be mediated by the attenuation of nociceptive sensitization in the spinal cord.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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