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Biochem J. 1997 Jun 1;324 ( Pt 2):565-70.

N-epsilon-(carboxyethyl)lysine, a product of the chemical modification of proteins by methylglyoxal, increases with age in human lens proteins.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


Advanced glycation end-products and glycoxidation products, such as Nepsilon-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML) and pentosidine, accumulate in long-lived tissue proteins with age and are implicated in the aging of tissue proteins and in the development of pathology in diabetes, atherosclerosis and other diseases. In this paper we describe a new advanced glycation end-product, Nepsilon-(carboxyethyl)lysine (CEL), which is formed during the reaction of methylglyoxal with lysine residues in model compounds and in the proteins RNase and collagen. CEL was also detected in human lens proteins at a concentration similar to that of CML, and increased with age in parallel with the concentration of CML. Although CEL was formed in highest yields during the reaction of methylglyoxal and triose phosphates with lysine and protein, it was also formed in reactions of pentoses, ascorbate and other sugars with lysine and RNase. We propose that levels of CML and CEL and their ratio to one another in tissue proteins and in urine will provide an index of glyoxal and methylglyoxal concentrations in tissues, alterations in glutathione homoeostasis and dicarbonyl metabolism in disease, and sources of advanced glycation end-products in tissue proteins in aging and disease.

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