Biomedical Fast Takes

N-Acetylcarnosine can help you to …

Help Manage Cataracts

Without question, aging affects eyes through accumulated oxidative stress. Research shows that dysfunctional mitochondria are the primary site of reactive oxygen species. As much as 95% of oxygen produced during normal metabolism is generated by the electron transport chain in the inner mitochondrial membrane. As well, mitochondria are the major targets of reactive oxygen species.

This inevitably leads to cataracts, opacification of the eye lens, which are among the leading causes of human blindness worldwide. In fact, cataracts account for 47.8% of all causes of blindness. Mechanistically, cataracts arise from the buildup of aggregated proteins in the lens, where lens fiber cell plasma membrane damage causes clouding of the lens, light scattering, and obstruction of vision. Also implicated are the oxidation of proteins, DNA damage, and/or lipid peroxidation.

In new research, an investigation considered how mitochondrial reactive oxygen species alter the aging eye, along with those protective and repair therapeutic systems believed to regulate reactive oxygen species levels in ocular tissues.1 Also, how damage to these systems contributes to age-onset eye disease and cataract formation.

The researchers reasoned that mitochondria-targeted antioxidants can effectively prevent reactive oxygen species-induced oxidation of lipids and proteins in the inner mitochondrial membrane in vivo. In addition, they can achieve weak metal chelating, OH- and lipid-peroxyl radical scavenging, along with fatty acid and phospholipid hydroperoxides reduction.

Carnosine meets the criteria of these antioxidant needs, able to efficiently protect the lipid phase of biologic membranes and aqueous environments and act as the antiapoptotic natural nutritional compounds. Mitochondrial targeting of compounds with universal antioxidant activities appear to be the most promising approach to date for treating a number of reactive oxygen species-related ocular diseases of the aging eye and can be suggested for the management of cataracts.


  1. Babizhayev MA, Yegorov YE. Reactive oxygen species and the aging eye: specific role of metabolically active mitochondria in maintaining lens function and in the initiation of the oxidation-induced maturity onset cataract-a novel platform of mitochondria-targeted antioxidants with broad therapeutic potential for redox regulation and detoxification of oxidants in eye diseases. Am J Ther 2010 Oct 22. [Epub ahead of print]

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