Nutr Res Pract.  2014 Feb;8(1):3-10.

Biological functions of histidine-dipeptides and metabolic syndrome

  • 1Division of Food Bioscience, College of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Konkuk University, 268 Chungwondaero, Chungju, Chungbuk 380-701, Korea.
  • 2School of Medicine, Ajou University, Gyeonggi 443-749, Korea.
  • 3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universita degli Studi di Milano, Italy.


The rapid increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, which is associated with a state of elevated systemic oxidative stress and inflammation, is expected to cause future increases in the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids and sugars produces reactive carbonyl species, which, due to their electrophilic nature, react with the nucleophilic sites of certain amino acids. This leads to formation of protein adducts such as advanced glycoxidation/lipoxidation end products (AGEs/ALEs), resulting in cellular dysfunction. Therefore, an effective reactive carbonyl species and AGEs/ALEs sequestering agent may be able to prevent such cellular dysfunction. There is accumulating evidence that histidine containing dipeptides such as carnosine (beta-alanyl-L-histidine) and anserine (beta-alanyl-methyl-L-histidine) detoxify cytotoxic reactive carbonyls by forming unreactive adducts and are able to reverse glycated protein. In this review, 1) reaction mechanism of oxidative stress and certain chronic diseases, 2) interrelation between oxidative stress and inflammation, 3) effective reactive carbonyl species and AGEs/ALEs sequestering actions of histidine-dipeptides and their metabolism, 4) effects of carnosinase encoding gene on the effectiveness of histidine-dipeptides, and 5) protective effects of histidine-dipeptides against progression of metabolic syndrome are discussed. Overall, this review highlights the potential beneficial effects of histidine-dipeptides against metabolic syndrome. Randomized controlled human studies may provide essential information regarding whether histidine-dipeptides attenuate metabolic syndrome in humans.


Carnosine; anserine; metabolic syndrome; CNDP-1 genotype; advanced glycoxidation end products (AGEs)
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