Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) and its derivative anserine (β-alanyl-1-methyl-L-histidine) are antioxidants and putative neurotransmitters in the brain. These dipeptides are rich in the commercially available supplement chicken breast extract (CBEX). To clarify the effects of CBEX on the brain, we examined whether single oral administration of CBEX (20 ml/kg) affects brain dipeptide and free amino acid concentrations in male Wistar rats. CBEX significantly and time-dependently increased carnosine and anserine levels in the plasma (at 120 min after injection, increase rates were 2976 and 4142%, respectively), hippocampus (64 and 78%), and hypothalamus (188 and 120%), but not in cerebral cortex. Significant and time-dependent increases in citrulline in the hippocampus (49%) and hypothalamus (41%) demonstrated generation of nitric oxide due to the increased carnosine and/or anserine levels in these brain regions. These findings suggest that CBEX modifies brain functions by increasing levels of these dipeptides.
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