Cardiospecific Overexpression of ATPGD1 (Carnosine Synthase) Increases Histidine Dipeptide Levels and Prevents Myocardial Ischemia Reperfusion Injury

Document Type



Background: Myocardial ischemia reperfusion (I/R) injury is associated with complex pathophysiological changes characterized by pH imbalance, the accumulation of lipid peroxidation products acrolein and 4‐hydroxy trans‐2‐nonenal, and the depletion of ATP levels. Cardioprotective interventions, designed to address individual mediators of I/R injury, have shown limited efficacy. The recently identified enzyme ATPGD1 (Carnosine Synthase), which synthesizes histidyl dipeptides such as carnosine, has the potential to counteract multiple effectors of I/R injury by buffering intracellular pH and quenching lipid peroxidation products and may protect against I/R injury.

Methods and results: We report here that β‐alanine and carnosine feeding enhanced myocardial carnosine levels and protected the heart against I/R injury. Cardiospecific overexpression of ATPGD1 increased myocardial histidyl dipeptides levels and protected the heart from I/R injury. Isolated cardiac myocytes from ATPGD1‐transgenic hearts were protected against hypoxia reoxygenation injury. The overexpression of ATPGD1 prevented the accumulation of acrolein and 4‐hydroxy trans‐2‐nonenal–protein adducts in ischemic hearts and delayed acrolein or 4‐hydroxy trans‐2‐nonenal–induced hypercontracture in isolated cardiac myocytes. Changes in the levels of ATP, high‐energy phosphates, intracellular pH, and glycolysis during low‐flow ischemia in the wild‐type mice hearts were attenuated in the ATPGD1‐transgenic hearts. Two natural dipeptide analogs (anserine and balenine) that can either quench aldehydes or buffer intracellular pH, but not both, failed to protect against I/R injury.

Conclusions: Either exogenous administration or enhanced endogenous formation of histidyl dipeptides prevents I/R injury by attenuating changes in intracellular pH and preventing the accumulation of lipid peroxidation derived aldehydes.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of the American Heart Association.