gms | German Medical Science

56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e. V. (DGNC)
3èmes journées françaises de Neurochirurgie (SFNC)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e. V.
Société Française de Neurochirurgie

07. bis 11.05.2005, Strasbourg

L-Carnosine - a naturally occurring dipeptide with potential antitumor activity in primary cultures of glioblastoma multiforme

L-Carnosin, ein natürlich vorkommendes Dipeptid mit beträchtlicher wachstumshemmender Wirkung in Primärkulturen von Glioblastomen

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author C. Renner - Department of Neurosurgery, University of Leipzig
  • S. Garcia de Arriba - Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Leipzig
  • F. Gaunitz - Department of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig
  • J. Meixensberger - Department of Neurosurgery, University of Leipzig

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Société Française de Neurochirurgie. 56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), 3èmes journées françaises de Neurochirurgie (SFNC). Strasbourg, 07.-11.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. DocP160

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 4, 2005

© 2005 Renner et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) is a naturally occurring dipeptide with antioxidant activity and chelating capacity of toxic metals. Carnosine influences the lifespan of cultured cells and thus it seems to play a key role in cell maintenance. However, in 1996 Holliday and McFarland reported a selective toxicity of carnosine on human neoplastic cell lines at physiological concentrations (20mM) in dependence of glucose and / or pyruvate. The aim of this work was to investigate a possible selective toxicity on glioblastoma cells.


Primary cell cultures of 8 patients with glioblastoma multiforme were investigated. Human astroglia (LS-107) and human glia stem cell lines were used as controls. Cells were incubated with carnosine in concentrations of 20, 40 and 50mM for 5 days in the presence of different concentrations of glucose and/or pyruvate. Cell viability was assessed by MTT - and ATP – assays as well as by measuring the dehydrogenase activity. Furthermore, the mitochondrial function (Rhodamine-123 flourescence) and formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured.


Carnosine significantly inhibits cell viability of glioblastoma cells in a dose-dependent manner. This toxic effect was not seen in the human astroglia cell line LS-107 nor in glia stem cells. Carnosine induced formation of ROS and it modified the mitochondrial depolarization.


Carnosine has a potential activity against malignant transformed brain tumor cells. The mechanism of anti tumor activity could be related to the formation of ROS and mitochondrial dysfunction. The selective effect on tumor cells suggests a possible use as a therapeutic anticancer drug, at least in the case of glioblastoma multiforme.