European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 111, Issue 10, pp 2571–2580 | Cite as

Effects of sprint training combined with vegetarian or mixed diet on muscle carnosine content and buffering capacity

  • Audrey Baguet
  • Inge Everaert
  • Hélène De Naeyer
  • Harmen Reyngoudt
  • Sanne Stegen
  • Sam Beeckman
  • Eric Achten
  • Lander Vanhee
  • Anneke Volkaert
  • Mirko Petrovic
  • Youri Taes
  • Wim DeraveEmail author
Original Article


Carnosine is an abundant dipeptide in human skeletal muscle with proton buffering capacity. There is controversy as to whether training can increase muscle carnosine and thereby provide a mechanism for increased buffering capacity. This study investigated the effects of 5 weeks sprint training combined with a vegetarian or mixed diet on muscle carnosine, carnosine synthase mRNA expression and muscle buffering capacity. Twenty omnivorous subjects participated in a 5 week sprint training intervention (2–3 times per week). They were randomized into a vegetarian and mixed diet group. Measurements (before and after the intervention period) included carnosine content in soleus, gastrocnemius lateralis and tibialis anterior by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS), true-cut biopsy of the gastrocnemius lateralis to determine in vitro non-bicarbonate muscle buffering capacity, carnosine content (HPLC method) and carnosine synthase (CARNS) mRNA expression and 6 × 6 s repeated sprint ability (RSA) test. There was a significant diet × training interaction in soleus carnosine content, which was non-significantly increased (+11%) with mixed diet and non-significantly decreased (−9%) with vegetarian diet. Carnosine content in other muscles and gastrocnemius buffer capacity were not influenced by training. CARNS mRNA expression was independent of training, but decreased significantly in the vegetarian group. The performance during the RSA test improved by training, without difference between groups. We found a positive correlation (r = 0.517; p = 0.002) between an invasive and non-invasive method for muscle carnosine quantification. In conclusion, this study shows that 5 weeks sprint training has no effect on the muscle carnosine content and carnosine synthase mRNA.


Muscle carnosine Muscle buffering capacity Sprint training Vegetarian diet 



This study was financially supported by grants from the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO and G.0046.09) Audrey Baguet is a recipient of a PhD-scholarship from the Research Foundation—Flanders. The practical contribution of Jonathan Dehenau, Job Franssen and Bavo Verhasselt is greatly acknowledged.

The experiments of this manuscript comply with the current laws of Belgium.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Audrey Baguet
    • 1
  • Inge Everaert
    • 1
  • Hélène De Naeyer
    • 1
  • Harmen Reyngoudt
    • 2
  • Sanne Stegen
    • 1
  • Sam Beeckman
    • 1
  • Eric Achten
    • 2
  • Lander Vanhee
    • 1
  • Anneke Volkaert
    • 1
  • Mirko Petrovic
    • 3
  • Youri Taes
    • 4
  • Wim Derave
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Movement and Sports SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Ghent Institute for functional and Metabolic Imaging (GIfMI)Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of EndocrinologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium

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