Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) is a natural dipeptide widely and abundantly distributed in excitable tissues of several animal tissues. Although its physiological role has not been completely understood yet, many beneficial actions have been attributed to carnosine, such as being an antioxidant, antiglycating and ion-chelating agent, a wound healing promoter and a free-radical scavenger. The role of carnosine in the neuroprotection of oxidative stress-driven disorders has been reviewed. The effects of carnosine have been extensively studied both in vivo and in vitro models of cerebral damages, such as neurodegenerative disorders and hypoxia-ischemia injuries. Beside the classical sacrificial agent, carnosine has been reevaluated as a molecular chaperon and an inducer of antioxidant systems in oxidative stress conditions. Thus, beneficial effects on most of the common biochemical events that characterize neurological disorders make carnosine a very promising molecule among all the endogenous compounds in the treatment and/or prevention of oxidative driven diseases.
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