Antioxidant activity of carnosine, homocarnosine, and anserine present in muscle and brain

R. Kohen, Y. Yamamoto, K. C. Cundy, B. N. Ames

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

741 Scopus citations


Carnosine, homocarnosine, and anserine are present in high concentrations in the muscle and brain of many animals and humans. However, their exact function is not clear. The antioxidant activity of these compounds has been examined by testing their peroxyl radical-trapping ability at physiological concentrations. Carnosine, homocarnosine, anserine, and other histidine derivatives all showed antioxidant activity. All of these compounds showing peroxyl radical-trapping activity were also electrochemically active as reducing agents in cyclic voltammetric measurements. Furthermore, carnosine inhibited the oxidative hydroxylation of deoxyguanosine induced by ascorbic acid and copper ions. Other roles of carnosine, such as chelation of metal ions, quenching of singlet oxygen, and binding of hydroperoxides, are also discussed. The data suggest a role for these histidine-related compounds as endogenous antioxidants in brain and muscle.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3175-3179
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Antioxidant activity of carnosine, homocarnosine, and anserine present in muscle and brain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this