Telomere attrition in lens epithelial cells - a target for N-acetylcarnosine therapy

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2010 Jun 1;15:934-56. doi: 10.2741/3655.


The lens epithelium is especially vulnerable to oxidative stress. The erosion and shortening of telomeres in human lens epithelial cells in the lack of telomerase activity has been recognized as a primary cause of premature lens senescence phenotype that trigger human cataractogenesis. Carnosine, released ophthalmically from N-acetylcarnosine prodrug lubricant eye drops , at physiological concentration might remarkably reduce the rate of telomere shortening in the lens cells subjected to oxidative stress in the lack of efficient antioxidant lens protection. The data of visual functions (visual acuity, glare sensitivity) in older adult subjects and older subjects with cataract treated with 1% N-acetylcarnosine lubricant eye drops showed significant improvement as compared, by contrast with the control group which showed generally no improvement in visual functions, with no difference from baseline in visual acuity and glare sensitivity readings. Prevention of cellular senescence with ophthalmic prodrug N-acetylcarnosine may be a novel therapeutic target in a management of cataract, basic preventive health care and in arresting of after-cataract following extracapsular cataract extraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Carnosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Carnosine / therapeutic use
  • Cataract / genetics
  • Cataract / physiopathology
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline / cytology
  • Lens, Crystalline / drug effects*
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism
  • Telomere / drug effects*
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Vision, Ocular / drug effects
  • Visual Acuity / drug effects


  • N-acetylcarnosine
  • Carnosine