Protective Effects of Carnosine on Dehydroascorbate-induced Structural Alteration and Opacity of Lens Crystallins: Important Implications of Carnosine Pleiotropic Functions to Combat Cataractogenesis

Document Type


Publication Date



dehydroascorbic acid (DHA), α-crystallin, carnosine, aggregation, senile cataracts

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


The high level of dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) in the lenticular tissue is an important risk factor for the development of age-related cataracts. In this study, the effects of DHA on structure and function of lens crystallins were studied in the presence of carnosine using gel mobility shift assay, different spectroscopic techniques, and lens culture analysis. The DHA-induced unfolding and aggregation of lens proteins were largely prevented by this endogenous dipeptide. The ability of carnosine to preserve native protein structure upon exposure to DHA suggests the essential role of this dipeptide in prevention of the senile cataract development. Although the DHA-modified α-crystallin was characterized by altered chaperone activity, functionality of this protein was significantly restored in the presence of carnosine. The increased proteolytic instability of DHA-modified lens proteins was also attenuated in the presence of carnosine. Furthermore, the assessment of lens culture suggested that DHA can induce significant lens opacity which can be prevented by carnosine. These observations can be explained by the pleiotropic functions of this endogenous and pharmaceutical compound, notably by its anti-glycation and anti-aggregation properties. In summary, our study suggests that carnosine may have therapeutic potential in preventing senile cataracts linked with the increased lenticular DHA generation, particularly under pathological conditions associated with the oxidative stress.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, v. 35, issue 8, p. 1766-1784