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.
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This study was financially supported by grants from the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO 1.5.149.08 and G.0046.09) and from Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (Grant numbers 2005/56464-9 and 2010/11221-0). The contribution of Johannes Ruige, Andries Pottier, Bert Celie, Melodie Arts, Koen De Meulenaer, Pieter Metsu, Vitor Painelli, and Rebeca Lugaresi is greatly acknowledged.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest associated with this manuscript.
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