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.