Carnosine and Diabetic Nephropathy

Curr Med Chem. 2020;27(11):1801-1812. doi: 10.2174/0929867326666190326111851.


Diabetic Nephropathy (DN) is a major complication in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and represents the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Novel therapeutic approaches are warranted. In view of a polymorphism in the carnosinase 1 gene CNDP1, resulting in reduced carnosine degradation activity and a significant DN risk reduction, carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) has gained attention as a potential therapeutic target. Carnosine has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-glycation and reactive carbonyl quenching properties. In diabetic rodents, carnosine supplementation consistently improved renal histology and function and in most studies, also glucose metabolism. Even though plasma half-life of carnosine in humans is short, first intervention studies in (pre-) diabetic patients yielded promising results. The precise molecular mechanisms of carnosine mediated protective action, however, are still incompletely understood. This review highlights the recent knowledge on the role of the carnosine metabolism in DN.

Keywords: CNDP1 gene; Carnosine; diabetic nephropathy; end-stage renal disease; histidine-containing dipeptides; polymorphism..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carnosine*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies*
  • Dipeptidases
  • Humans
  • Kidney


  • Carnosine
  • CNDP1 protein, human
  • Dipeptidases