Neurochemical Research

, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 1339–1345 | Cite as

Carnosine and Homocarnosine, the Forgotten, Enigmatic Peptides of the Brain

  • Karl BauerEmail author


Carnosine (ß-alanyl-histidine) and homocarnosine (γ-aminobutyryl-histidine) are major constituents of excitable tissues, brain and skeletal muscles, but their physiological functions are yet unknown. Using primary cell culture systems, synthesis and uptake of carnosine exclusively by glial cells could be demonstrated. Uptake of carnosine was found to be mediated by a high affinity, energy-dependent dipeptide transport system, subsequently identified as the peptide transporter PepT2. With the synthesis of ß-Ala-Lys-Nε-AMCA as a fluorescent reporter molecule, accumulation of this dipeptide derivative could be monitored under viable conditions not only in astroglia cells but also in folliculostellate cells of the anterior pituitary and in gonadal resident macrophages. This reporter dipeptide provided a most valuable tool to identify an intrapituitary communication system by tracing folliculostellate cells in acute slice preparation. Moreover, this substance could also be used to prepare pituitary cell cultures enriched with or depleted of folliculostellate cells that are needed for further studies.


Brain cell cultures folliculostellate cells gonadal macrophages carnosine synthesis dipeptide uptake PepT2 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental EndocrinologyHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental EndocrinologyHannoverGermany

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