Muscle Carnosine Is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Humans

de Courten, Barbora, Kurdiova, T, de Courten, Maximilian ORCID: 0000-0001-9997-9359, Belan, V, Everaert, I, Vician, M, Teede, H, Gasperikova, D, Aldini, G, Derave, W, Ukropec, J and Ukropcova, B (2015) Muscle Carnosine Is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Humans. PLoS ONE, 10 (10). ISSN 1932-6203


Background Carnosine is a naturally present dipeptide abundant in skeletal muscle and an over-the counter food additive. Animal data suggest a role of carnosine supplementation in the prevention and treatment of obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease but only limited human data exists. Methods and Results Samples of vastus lateralis muscle were obtained by needle biopsy. We measured muscle carnosine levels (high-performance liquid chromatography), % body fat (bioimpedance), abdominal subcutaneous and visceral adiposity (magnetic resonance imaging), insulin sensitivity (euglycaemic hyperinsulinemic clamp), resting energy expenditure (REE, indirect calorimetry), free-living ambulatory physical activity (accelerometers) and lipid profile in 36 sedentary non-vegetarian middle aged men (45±7 years) with varying degrees of adiposity and glucose tolerance. Muscle carnosine content was positively related to % body fat (r = 0.35, p = 0.04) and subcutaneous (r = 0.38, p = 0.02) but not visceral fat (r = 0.17, p = 0.33). Muscle carnosine content was inversely associated with insulin sensitivity (r = -0.44, p = 0.008), REE (r = -0.58, p<0.001) and HDL-cholesterol levels (r = -0.34, p = 0.048). Insulin sensitivity and physical activity were the best predictors of muscle carnosine content after adjustment for adiposity. Conclusion Our data shows that higher carnosine content in human skeletal muscle is positively associated with insulin resistance and fasting metabolic preference for glucose. Moreover, it is negatively associated with HDL-cholesterol and basal energy expenditure. Intervention studies targeting insulin resistance, metabolic and cardiovascular disease risk factors are necessary to evaluate its putative role in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0138707
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1116 Medical Physiology
Current > Division/Research > College of Health and Biomedicine
Keywords insulin; glucose metabolism; bioenergetics; obesity; type 2 diabetes; insulin resistance; muscle analysis; skeletal muscles
Citations in Scopus 27 - View on Scopus
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