Reduced muscle carnosine content in type 2, but not in type 1 diabetic patients

Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):21-4. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1165-y. Epub 2011 Nov 27.


Carnosine is present in high concentrations in skeletal muscle where it contributes to acid buffering and functions also as a natural protector against oxidative and carbonyl stress. Animal studies have shown an anti-diabetic effect of carnosine supplementation. High carnosinase activity, the carnosine degrading enzyme in serum, is a risk factor for diabetic complications in humans. The aim of the present study was to compare the muscle carnosine concentration in diabetic subjects to the level in non-diabetics. Type 1 and 2 diabetic patients and matched healthy controls (total n=58) were included in the study. Muscle carnosine content was evaluated by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (3 Tesla) in soleus and gastrocnemius. Significantly lower carnosine content (-45%) in gastrocnemius muscle, but not in soleus, was shown in type 2 diabetic patients compared with controls. No differences were observed in type 1 diabetic patients. Type II diabetic patients display a reduced muscular carnosine content. A reduction in muscle carnosine concentration may be partially associated with defective mechanisms against oxidative, glycative and carbonyl stress in muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carnosine / blood
  • Carnosine / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Prospective Studies


  • Carnosine
  • Glucose