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The Roles of Carnosine in Aging of Skeletal Muscle and in Neuromuscular Diseases

H. J. Stuerenburg

Neurological Department, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany; fax: 49-40-42803-5086; E-mail: stuerenburg@uke.uni-hamburg.de

Received October 20, 1999
Skeletal muscles undergo specific alterations that are related to the aging process. The incidence of several neuromuscular diseases (e.g., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), myasthenia gravis, polymyositis, drug-induced myopathies, late-onset mitochondrial myopathy) is age-related. The increased sensitivity to disease of aging muscle represents an additional age-related negative influence in the presence of existing risk factors (such as a genetic predisposition). The potential significance of carnosine lies on one hand in its possible influence on specific physiological changes in muscle associated with the aging process, and on the other in its effect on oxidative stress and the antioxidative system in specific neuromuscular diseases such as ALS or polymyositis.
KEY WORDS: carnosine, neuromuscular disease, aging, antioxidant system, denervation, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, myopathies