Carnosine improves diabetic retinopathy via the MAPK/ERK pathway

Exp Ther Med. 2019 Apr;17(4):2641-2647. doi: 10.3892/etm.2019.7223. Epub 2019 Jan 30.


Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the most common causes of blindness in developed countries. Due to its asymptomatic onset and progressive disease course, DR is typically diagnosed at a late stage when treatment options are limited and therefore often results in irreversible blindness. Studies have demonstrated that carnosine may prevent and treat DR. In a previous study, the positive effect of carnosine on DR was determined and it was revealed that there may be an association between carnosine and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal related kinase (ERK) signaling pathway. To assess the interaction between carnosine and the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway, changes in PKC, ERK and p-ERK expression was assessed in diabetic rats following treatment with carnosine, PD98059 or U46619 via reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blotting. The results demonstrated that the expression of ERK and p-ERK were significantly suppressed following treatment with carnosine, but no significant effect on the expression of PKC was identified, which indicates that suppressing the activation of the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway may serve an important role in carnosine-induced DR prevention and treatment.

Keywords: carnosine; diabetic retinopathy; diabetic retinopathy rats; mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-related kinase signaling pathway.