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REVIEW: A Re-evaluation of the Antioxidant Activity of Purified Carnosine

E. A. Decker*, S. A. Livisay, and S. Zhou

Department of Food Science, Chenoweth Lab, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA; fax: 413-545-1262; E-mail: edecker@foodsci.umass.edu

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received December 22, 1999
The antioxidant activity of carnosine has been re-evaluated due to the presence of contaminating hydrazine in commercial carnosine preparations. Purified carnosine is capable of scavenging peroxyl radicals. Inhibition of the oxidation of phosphatidylcholine liposomes by purified carnosine is greater in the presence of copper than iron, a phenomenon likely to be due to the copper chelating properties of carnosine. Purified carnosine is capable of forming adducts with aldehydic lipid oxidation products. Adduct formation is greatest for alpha,beta-monounsaturated followed by polyunsaturated and saturated aldehydes. While the ability of carnosine to form adducts with aldehydic lipid oxidation products is lower than other compounds such as glutathione, the higher concentrations of carnosine in skeletal muscle are likely to make it the most important molecule that forms aldehyde adducts. Monitoring changes in carnosine concentrations in oxidizing skeletal muscle shows that carnosine oxidation does not occur until the later stages of oxidation suggesting that carnosine may not be as effective free radical scavenger in vivoas other antioxidants like alpha-tocopherol.
KEY WORDS: carnosine, antioxidant activity, alpha,beta-monounsaturated aldehydes