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2009 Study: Carnosine Combats Cataracts

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In the July 28, 2009 issue of the journal Biochemistry, Italian researchers report that the dipeptide carnosine shows promise not only in preventing cataracts but also in helping to treat the condition. Cataracts, which are characterized by a clouding of the eye’s lens, are a major cause of visual impairment among older men and women, and surgery is currently the only effective treatment.

Enrico Rizzarelli of the University of Catania and his colleagues tested the effects of D- and L-carnosine on bovine cultured alpha-crystallin, the major structural protein in the lens of the eye. The cultures were treated with guanidine, a compound that is known to cause cataracts via the formation of alpha-crystallin fibrils. Co-incubation of the cultures with carnosine helped inhibit fibrillation, and the addition of carnosine to pre-existing fibrils was found to almost completely dissolve them.


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