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REVIEW: Carnosine: New Concept for the Function of an Old Molecule*

A. A. Boldyrev1,2#

1International Biotechnological Center of M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia

2Laboratory of Clinical Neurochemistry, Research Center of Neurology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Volokolamskoe Shosse 80, 123367 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 490-2408; E-mail: slstvolinsky@mail.ru


*On July 10-12, 2011 in the town of Ghent (Belgium) the II International Congress “Carnosine in Exercise and Disease” was held. At the Congress studies on the biological role of carnosine in animal and human tissues were analyzed allowing researchers to suppose a possibility of using this compound in sport medicine and in the treatment of some diseases accompanied by oxidative stress. This review presents material of the introductory lecture presented by the author at the opening of the Congress.

Received September 26, 2011; Revision received November 17, 2011
In this review, the development of understanding of the biological functions of carnosine is briefly discussed. Carnosine was first described as a component of meat in 1900 by V. S. Gulevitch. Changes in the concepts of the role of carnosine in metabolism are followed starting from the early suggestion that it is the end product of protein degradation to the modern ideas based on demonstrating its specific involvement in intracellular signaling regulation in excitable tissue cells. The discovery of the ability of carnosine to regulate expression of early response genes broadens the concept about carnosine as a cellular peptide regulator. The first attempts for application of carnosine in sport and medical practice are described.
KEY WORDS: carnosine, pH buffer, reactive oxygen species, intracellular signaling, neurodegenerative diseases

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297912040013