Effects of L-carnosine on splenic sympathetic nerve activity and tumor proliferation

Neurosci Lett. 2012 Feb 21;510(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.12.058. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


l-Carnosine (β-alanyl-l-histidine), a dipeptide of the amino acids β-alanine and histidine, is found in mammalian tissues including those in the central nervous system and in skeletal muscles. In the present study, we examined the effects of intraduodenal (ID) injection of l-carnosine on splenic sympathetic nerve activity (splenic-SNA) in urethane-anesthetized rats and found that ID injection of 3.3mg/kg of body weight of l-carnosine significantly suppressed splenic-SNA. Since it has been suggested that splenic-SNA reduction increases natural killer (NK) activity of splenic cells, which in turn elevates tumor immunity, we then investigated the effect of l-carnosine on the proliferation of human colon cancer cells transplanted into athymic nude mice. The findings of this study revealed that 1mg/mL of l-carnosine solution given as the only drinking water inhibited tumor proliferation. These results suggest that l-carnosine suppresses splenic-SNA and inhibits cancer cell proliferation, probably by elevating NK activity.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia
  • Animals
  • Carnosine / administration & dosage
  • Carnosine / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spleen / drug effects*
  • Spleen / innervation*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology
  • Urethane


  • Urethane
  • Carnosine