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REVIEW: A Role for Carnosine in Cellular Maintenance

R. Holliday* and G. A. McFarland

CSIRO Division of Molecular Science, North Ryde, Sydney, N. S. W. 1670, Australia; fax: 61-2-9490-5010; E-mail: gail.mcfarland@molsci.csiro.au or RandL.Holliday@bigpond.com

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received November 22, 1999
The dipeptide L-carnosine has beneficial effects on cultured human fibroblasts. Physiological concentrations in standard media prolong their in vitro lifespan and strongly reduce the normal features of senescence. Late passage cells in normal medium are rejuvenated when transferred to medium containing carnosine, and become senescent when carnosine is removed. In the absence of pyruvate, carnosine is cytotoxic to neoplastic and transformed human and rodent cells. None of these effects are seen with its optical isomer, D-carnosine.
KEY WORDS: carnosine, ageing, human fibroblasts, transformation