First published September 18, 2018 - More info
Sugar- and lipid-derived aldehydes are reactive carbonyl species (RCS) frequently used as surrogate markers of oxidative stress in obesity. A pathogenic role for RCS in metabolic diseases of obesity remains controversial, however, due in part to their highly diffuse and broad reactivity, and to lack of specific RCS-scavenging therapies. Naturally occurring histidine dipeptides (e.g., anserine and carnosine) possess RCS reactivity, but their therapeutic potential in humans is limited by serum carnosinases. Here we present the rational design, characterization and pharmacological evaluation of ‘carnosinol’ (i.e. (2S)-2-(3-amino propanoylamino)-3-(1H-imidazol-5-yl)propanol) a derivative of carnosine with high oral bioavailability that is resistant to carnosinases. Carnosinol displayed a suitable ADMET profile and was determined to have the greatest potency and selectivity toward α,β-unsaturated aldehydes (e.g. 4-hydroxynonenal, HNE, acrolein) among all others so far reported. In rodent models of diet-induced obesity and metabolic syndrome, carnosinol dose-dependently attenuated HNE-adduct formation in liver and skeletal muscle while simultaneously mitigating inflammation, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and steatohepatitis. These improvements in metabolic parameters with carnosinol were not due to changes in energy expenditure, physical activity, adiposity or body weight. Collectively, our findings illustrate a pathogenic role for RCS in obesity-related metabolic disorders, and provide validation for a promising new class of carbonyl-scavenging therapeutic compounds rationally derived from carnosine.