In humans, we reported an association of a certain allele of carnosinase gene with reduced carnosinase activity and absence of nephropathy in diabetic patients. CN1 degrades histidine dipeptides such as carnosine and anserine. Further, we and others showed that treatment with carnosine improves renal function and wound healing in diabetic mice and rats. We now investigated the effects of carnosine treatment alone and in combination with ACE inhibition, a clinically established nephroprotective drug in diabetic nephropathy. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were injected i.v. with streptozotocin (STZ) to induce diabetes. After 4 weeks, rats were unilaterally nephrectomized and randomized for 24 weeks of treatment with carnosine, lisinopril or both. Renal CN1 protein concentrations were increased under diabetic conditions which correlated with decreased anserine levels. Carnosine treatment normalized CN1 abundance and reduced glucosuria, blood concentrations of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), carboxyl-methyl lysine (CML), N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNac; all p<0.05 vs. non-treated STZ rats), reduced cataract formation (p<0.05) and urinary albumin excretion (p<0.05), preserved podocyte number (p<0.05) and normalized the increased renal tissue CN1 protein concentration. Treatment with lisinopril had no effect on HbA1C, glucosuria, cataract formation and CN1 concentration, but reduced albumin excretion rate more effectively than carnosine treatment (p<0.05). Treatment with both carnosine and lisinopril combined the effects of single treatment, albeit without additive effect on podocyte number or albuminuria. Increased CN1 amount resulted in decreased anserine levels in the kidney. Both carnosine and lisinopril exert distinct beneficial effects in a standard model of diabetic nephropathy. Both drugs administered together combine the respective effects of single treatment, albeit without exerting additive nephroprotection.
Keywords: Carnosine; Cataract; Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic nephropathy; Proteinuria.
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