Carnitine Abstracts 1

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Acetyl-L-carnitine. Monograph

         (2010) Download

Disposition and metabolite kinetics of oral L-carnitine in humans

         (Bain, Milne et al. 2006) Download

The pharmacokinetics of L-carnitine and its metabolites were investigated in 7 healthy subjects following the oral administration of 0, 0.5, 1, and 2 g 3 times a day for 7 days. Mean plasma concentrations of L-carnitine across an 8-hour dose interval increased significantly (P < .05) from a baseline of 54.2 +/- 9.3 microM to 80.5 +/- 12.5 microM following the 0.5-g dose; there was no further increase at higher doses. There was a significant increase (P < .001) in the renal clearance of L-carnitine indicating saturation of tubular reabsorption. Trimethylamine plasma levels increased proportionately with L-carnitine dose, but there was no change in renal clearance. A significant increase in the plasma concentrations of trimethylamine-N-oxide from baseline was evident only for the 2-g dose of L-carnitine (from 34.5 +/- 2.0 to 149 +/- 145 microM), and its renal clearance decreased with increasing dose (P < .05). There was no evidence for nonlinearity in the metabolism of trimethylamine to trimethylamine-N-oxide. In conclusion, the pharmacokinetics of oral L-carnitine display nonlinearity above a dose of 0.5 g 3 times a day.


Carnitine supplementation attenuates myocardial lipid accumulation in long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase knockout mice

         (Bakermans, van Weeghel et al. 2013) Download

PURPOSE: Elevation of long-chain acylcarnitine levels is a hallmark of long-chain mitochondrial beta-oxidation (FAO) disorders, and can be accompanied by secondary carnitine deficiency. To restore free carnitine levels, and to increase myocardial export of long-chain fatty acyl-CoA esters, supplementation of L-carnitine in patients has been proposed. However, carnitine supplementation is controversial, because it may enhance the potentially lipotoxic buildup of long-chain acylcarnitines in the FAO-deficient heart. In this longitudinal study, we investigated the effects of carnitine supplementation in an animal model of long-chain FAO deficiency, the long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCAD) knockout (KO) mouse. METHODS: Cardiac size and function, and triglyceride (TG) levels were quantified using proton magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in LCAD KO and wild-type (WT) mice. Carnitine was supplemented orally for 4 weeks starting at 5 weeks of age. Non-supplemented animals served as controls. In vivo data were complemented with ex vivo biochemical assays. RESULTS: LCAD KO mice displayed cardiac hypertrophy and elevated levels of myocardial TG compared to WT mice. Carnitine supplementation lowered myocardial TG, normalizing myocardial TG levels in LCAD KO mice. Furthermore, carnitine supplementation did not affect cardiac performance and hypertrophy, or induce an accumulation of potentially toxic long-chain acylcarnitines in the LCAD KO heart. CONCLUSION: This study lends support to the proposed beneficial effect of carnitine supplementation alleviating toxicity by exporting acylcarnitines out of the FAO-deficient myocardium, rather than to the concern about a potentially detrimental effect of supplementation-induced production of lipotoxic long-chain acylcarnitines.


Trimethylamine-N-oxide, a metabolite associated with atherosclerosis, exhibits complex genetic and dietary regulation

         (Bennett, de Aguiar Vallim et al. 2013) Download

Circulating trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) levels are strongly associated with atherosclerosis. We now examine genetic, dietary, and hormonal factors regulating TMAO levels. We demonstrate that two flavin mono-oxygenase family members, FMO1 and FMO3, oxidize trimethylamine (TMA), derived from gut flora metabolism of choline, to TMAO. Further, we show that FMO3 exhibits 10-fold higher specific activity than FMO1. FMO3 overexpression in mice significantly increases plasma TMAO levels while silencing FMO3 decreases TMAO levels. In both humans and mice, hepatic FMO3 expression is reduced in males compared to females. In mice, this reduction in FMO3 expression is due primarily to downregulation by androgens. FMO3 expression is induced by dietary bile acids by a mechanism that involves the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a bile acid-activated nuclear receptor. Analysis of natural genetic variation among inbred strains of mice indicates that FMO3 and TMAO are significantly correlated, and TMAO levels explain 11% of the variation in atherosclerosis.

L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine improve endothelial dysfunction in spontaneously hypertensive rats: different participation of NO and COX-products

         (Bueno, Alvarez de Sotomayor et al. 2005) Download

L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine are supplements to therapy in cardiovascular pathologies. Their effect on endothelial dysfunction in hypertension was studied after treatment with either 200 mg/kg of L-carnitine or propionyl-L-carnitine during 8 weeks of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and normotensive Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY). Endothelial function was assessed in aortic rings by carbachol-induced relaxation (CCh 10(-8) to 10(-4) M) and factors involved were characterized in the presence of the inhibitors: L-NAME, indomethacin, the TXA2/PGH2 Tp receptor antagonist ICI-192,605 and the thromboxane synthetase inhibitor-Tp receptor antagonist, Ro-68,070. The effect on phenylephrine-induced contractions was also observed. To identify the nature of vasoactive COX-derived products, enzyme-immunoassay of incubation media was assessed. Involvement of reactive oxygen species was evaluated by incubating with superoxide dismutase and catalase. Nitric oxide production was evaluated by serum concentration of NO2+NO3.Treatment with both compounds improved endothelial function of rings from SHR without blood pressure change. Propionyl-L-carnitine increased NO participation in WKY and SHR. L-carnitine reduced endothelium-dependent responses to CCh in WKY due to an increase of TXA2 production. In both SHR and WKY, L-carnitine enhanced concentration of PGI2 and increased participation of NO. Results in the presence of SOD plus catalase show that it might be related to antioxidant properties of L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine. Comparison between the effect of both compounds shows that both may reduce reactive oxygen species and increase NO participation in endothelium-dependent relaxations in SHR. However, only L-carnitine was able to increase the release of the vasodilator PGI2 and even enhanced TXA2 production in normotensive rats.

Effect of diet on plasma carnitine levels and urinary carnitine excretion in humans

         (Cederblad 1987) Download

This investigation determines the effect of two isocaloric diet regimens on plasma carnitine and urinary carnitine excretion in man. Seven healthy men were served a high-carbohydrate, low-fat (C) or a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (F) diet for 2 wk, ie, one diet regimen for 4 d followed by a 3-d break and concluded with 4 d more on the other diet regimen. The two regimens contained the same amount of carnitine-rich food. Plasma free carnitine rose significantly from the initial value on F diet and was significantly higher from day 3 than C diet. Plasma acyl carnitine increased on both diets. Urinary excretion of carnitine increased only on F diet. Renal clearance of both free and acyl carnitine was significantly greater on F diet than on C diet. Results showed that composition of a diet with constant carnitine content influenced carnitine metabolism in man.


A systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of carnitine supplementation in improving walking performance among individuals with intermittent claudication

         (Delaney, Spark et al. 2013) Download

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the evidence for the use of carnitine supplementation in improving walking performance among individuals with intermittent claudication. DESIGN: Systematic review. METHODS: An electronic search of the literature was performed using MEDLINE (PubMed), Scopus, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and The Cochrane Library from inception through to November 2012. Search terms included peripheral arterial disease, intermittent claudication and carnitine. Reference lists of review articles and primary studies were also examined. Full reports of published experimental studies including randomized controlled trials and pre-test/post-test trials were selected for inclusion. A quality assessment was undertaken according to the Jadad scale. RESULTS: A total of 40 articles were retrieved, of which 23 did not meet the inclusion criteria. The 17 included articles reported on a total of 18 experimental studies of carnitine supplementation (5 pre-test/post-test; 8 parallel RCT; 5 cross-over RCT) for improving walking performance in adults with intermittent claudication. For pre-test/post-test studies, 300-2000 mg propionyl-l-carnitine (PLC) was administered orally or intravenously for a maximum of 90 days (7-42 participants) with statistically significant improvements of between 74 m and 157 m in pain free walking distance and between 71 m and 135 m in maximal walking distance across 3 out of 5 studies. Similarly, PLC (600 mg-3000 mg) was administered orally in 7 out of 8 parallel RCTs (22-485 participants), the longest duration being 12 months. All but one of the smallest trials demonstrated statistically significant improvements in walking performance between 31 and 54 m greater than placebo for pain free walking distance and between 9 and 86 m greater than placebo for maximal walking distance. A double-blind parallel RCT of cilostazol plus 2000 mg oral l-carnitine or placebo for 180 days (145 participants) did not demonstrate any significant improvement in walking performance. Of 5 cross-over RCTs (8-20 participants), 4 demonstrated significant improvements in walking performance following administration of 300-6000 mg l-carnitine or PLC. Compared to placebo, pain free walking distance and maximal walking distance improved by 23-132 m and 104 m respectively following carnitine intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Most trials demonstrated a small or modest improvement in walking performance with administration of PLC or l-carnitine. These findings were largely independent of level or quality of evidence, while there was some evidence that intravenous administration was more effective than oral administration and those with severe claudication may achieve greater benefits than those with moderate claudication. Routine carnitine supplementation in the form of PLC may therefore be a useful adjunct therapy for management of intermittent claudication. Further research is warranted to determine the optimal form, duration, dose and safety of carnitine supplementation across the spectrum of peripheral arterial disease severity and its effect with concurrent supervised exercise programs and best medical therapy. These studies should be supplemented with cost effectiveness studies to ensure that the return on the investment is acceptable.

Plasma carnitine levels as a marker of impaired left ventricular functions

         (El-Aroussy, Rizk et al. 2000) Download

L-Carnitine plays a role in the utilization of fatty acids and glucose in the myocardium. Previous studies have indicated carnitine deficiency in patients with congestive heart failure. However, the extent of altered carnitine metabolism and left ventricular function is not fully determined. This study is designed to determine if plasma L-carnitine levels can serve as a marker for impaired left ventricular function in patients with congestive heart failure. To test this hypothesis, plasma and urinary levels of L-carnitine were measured in 30 patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and in 10 control subjects. CHF was due to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Cardiac functions such as percentage of fractional shortening (%FS), ejection fraction (EF), left ventricular mass index (LVMI), were determined by echocardiography. All patients and control subjects had normal renal functions. Plasma carnitine was significantly higher in patients with DCM (37.05+/-7.62, p < 0.0001) and with RHD (47.2+/-8.04, p < 0.0001) vs. the control subjects (14.4+/-5.30 mg/L). Urinary carnitine was significantly higher in DCM (49.13+/-14.11, p < 0.0001) and in RHD 43.53+/-15.5, p < 0.0001), than the control (25.1+/-5.78 mg/L). Plasma carnitine level correlated significantly with impaired left ventricular systolic functions in these patients: % FS < 25 % (r = -0.38 and p = 0.038), EF < 0.55 (r = -0.502 and p = 0.005) and LMVI > 124 gm/m2 (r = 0.436, and p = 0.016). These data suggest that elevated plasma and urinary carnitine levels in patients with CHF could serve as a marker for myocardial damage and impaired left ventricular functions.


Therapeutic effects of L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine on cardiovascular diseases: a review

         (Ferrari, Merli et al. 2004) Download

Several experimental studies have shown that levocarnitine reduces myocardial injury after ischemia and reperfusion by counteracting the toxic effect of high levels of free fatty acids, which occur in ischemia, and by improving carbohydrate metabolism. In addition to increasing the rate of fatty acid transport into mitochondria, levocarnitine reduces the intramitochondrial ratio of acetyl-CoA to free CoA, thus stimulating the activity of pyruvate dehydrogenase and increasing the oxidation of pyruvate. Supplementation of the myocardium with levocarnitine results in an increased tissue carnitine content, a prevention of the loss of high-energy phosphate stores, ischemic injury, and improved heart recovery on reperfusion. Clinically, levocarnitine has been shown to have anti-ischemic properties. In small short-term studies, levocarnitine acts as an antianginal agent that reduces ST segment depression and left ventricular end-diastolic pressure. These short-term studies also show that levocarnitine releases the lactate of coronary artery disease patients subjected to either exercise testing or atrial pacing. These cardioprotective effects have been confirmed during aortocoronary bypass grafting and acute myocardial infarction. In a randomized multicenter trial performed on 472 patients, levocarnitine treatment (9 g/day by intravenous infusion for 5 initial days and 6 g/day orally for the next 12 months), when initiated early after acute myocardial infarction, attenuated left ventricular dilatation and prevented ventricular remodeling. In treated patients, there was a trend towards a reduction in the combined incidence of death and CHF after discharge. Levocarnitine could improve ischemia and reperfusion by (1) preventing the accumulation of long-chain acyl-CoA, which facilitates the production of free radicals by damaged mitochondria; (2) improving repair mechanisms for oxidative-induced damage to membrane phospholipids; (3) inhibiting malignancy arrhythmias because of accumulation within the myocardium of long-chain acyl-CoA; and (4) reducing the ischemia-induced apoptosis and the consequent remodeling of the left ventricle. Propionyl-L-carnitine is a carnitine derivative that has a high affinity for muscular carnitine transferase, and it increases cellular carnitine content, thereby allowing free fatty acid transport into the mitochondria. Moreover, propionyl-L-carnitine stimulates a better efficiency of the Krebs cycle during hypoxia by providing it with a very easily usable substrate, propionate, which is rapidly transformed into succinate without energy consumption (anaplerotic pathway). Alone, propionate cannot be administered to patients in view of its toxicity. The results of phase-2 studies in chronic heart failure patients showed that long-term oral treatment with propionyl-L-carnitine improves maximum exercise duration and maximum oxygen consumption over placebo and indicated a specific propionyl-L-carnitine effect on peripheral muscle metabolism. A multicenter trial on 537 patients showed that propionyl-L-carnitine improves exercise capacity in patients with heart failure, but preserved cardiac function.

Role of carnitine in disease

         (Flanagan, Simmons et al. 2010) Download

Carnitine is a conditionally essential nutrient that plays a vital role in energy production and fatty acid metabolism. Vegetarians possess a greater bioavailability than meat eaters. Distinct deficiencies arise either from genetic mutation of carnitine transporters or in association with other disorders such as liver or kidney disease. Carnitine deficiency occurs in aberrations of carnitine regulation in disorders such as diabetes, sepsis, cardiomyopathy, malnutrition, cirrhosis, endocrine disorders and with aging. Nutritional supplementation of L-carnitine, the biologically active form of carnitine, is ameliorative for uremic patients, and can improve nerve conduction, neuropathic pain and immune function in diabetes patients while it is life-saving for patients suffering primary carnitine deficiency. Clinical application of carnitine holds much promise in a range of neural disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, hepatic encephalopathy and other painful neuropathies. Topical application in dry eye offers osmoprotection and modulates immune and inflammatory responses. Carnitine has been recognized as a nutritional supplement in cardiovascular disease and there is increasing evidence that carnitine supplementation may be beneficial in treating obesity, improving glucose intolerance and total energy expenditure.


Plasma carnitine levels in adult males in India: effects of high cereal, low fat diet, fat supplementation, and nutrition status

         (Khan-Siddiqui and Bamji 1980) Download

Effects of diet and nutrition status on plasma carnitine levels was examined in adult Indian men. Apparently healthy subjects from middle and low income groups, consuming predominantly cereal-based diets had normal levels of plasma carnitine and albumin. Subjects with clear-cut evidence of malnutrition as judged by anthropometry, who, however, had normal plasma albumin, tended to have higher concentrations of plasma carnitine. Conversely, subjects with nutritional edema had markedly reduced plasma carnitine which improved with treatment. Among subjects with plasma albumin above 3.0 g/dl, plasma carnitine showed a weak but significant inverse correlation with anthropometric index (weight/height2 X 100). Increased intake of dietary fat reduced plasma free carnitine markedly and total carnitine marginally, but raised acyl carnitine. The results suggest that plasma carnitine levels in adults may be regulated by a balance between factors influencing its availability through the diet or its synthesis (availability of precursor amino acids, activity of synthetic enzymes), and utilization (body weight, quality and quantity of fat).

Intestinal microbiota metabolism of l-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis

         (Koeth, Wang et al. 2013) Download

Intestinal microbiota metabolism of choline and phosphatidylcholine produces trimethylamine (TMA), which is further metabolized to a proatherogenic species, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). We demonstrate here that metabolism by intestinal microbiota of dietary l-carnitine, a trimethylamine abundant in red meat, also produces TMAO and accelerates atherosclerosis in mice. Omnivorous human subjects produced more TMAO than did vegans or vegetarians following ingestion of l-carnitine through a microbiota-dependent mechanism. The presence of specific bacterial taxa in human feces was associated with both plasma TMAO concentration and dietary status. Plasma l-carnitine levels in subjects undergoing cardiac evaluation (n = 2,595) predicted increased risks for both prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) and incident major adverse cardiac events (myocardial infarction, stroke or death), but only among subjects with concurrently high TMAO levels. Chronic dietary l-carnitine supplementation in mice altered cecal microbial composition, markedly enhanced synthesis of TMA and TMAO, and increased atherosclerosis, but this did not occur if intestinal microbiota was concurrently suppressed. In mice with an intact intestinal microbiota, dietary supplementation with TMAO or either carnitine or choline reduced in vivo reverse cholesterol transport. Intestinal microbiota may thus contribute to the well-established link between high levels of red meat consumption and CVD risk.

Systemic antioxidant properties of L-carnitine in two different models of arterial hypertension

         (Mate, Miguel-Carrasco et al. 2010) Download

In spite of a wide range of drugs being available in the market, treatment of arterial hypertension still remains a challenge, and new therapeutic strategies could be developed in order to improve the rate of success in controlling this disease. Since oxidative stress has gained importance in the last few years as one of the mechanisms involved in the origin and development of hypertension, and considering that L-carnitine (LC) is a useful compound in different pathologies characterized by increased oxidative status, the aim of the present study was to investigate the systemic antioxidant effect of LC and its correlation to blood pressure in two experimental models of hypertension: (1) spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and (2) rats with hypertension induced by N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME). Treatment with captopril was also performed in SHR in order to compare the antioxidant and antihypertensive effects of LC and captopril. The antioxidant defense capacity, in terms of antioxidant enzyme activity, glutathione system availability and plasma total antioxidant capacity, was measured in both animal models with or without an oral, chronic treatment with LC. All the antioxidant parameters studied were diminished in SHR and in L-NAME-treated animals, an alteration that was in general reversed after treatments with LC and captopril. In addition, LC produced a significant but not complete reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels in these two models of hypertension, whereas captopril was able to normalize blood pressure. Both LC and captopril prevented the reduction in nitric oxide (NO) levels observed in hypertensive animals. This suggests a decrease in the systemic oxidative stress and a higher availability of NO induced by LC in a similar way to captopril's effects, which could be relevant in the management of arterial hypertension eventually.


Pharmacological effects and clinical applications of propionyl-L-carnitine

         (Mingorance, Rodriguez-Rodriguez et al. 2011) Download

Propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC) is a naturally occurring derivative of carnitine that plays an important role in the metabolism of both carbohydrates and lipids, leading to an increase of ATP generation. PLC, however, is not only a metabolic drug; it is also a potent antiradical agent and thus may protect tissues from oxidative damage. PLC has been demonstrated to exert a protective effect in different models of both cardiac and endothelial dysfunction, to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis, and, more recently, to improve some of the cardiometabolic alterations that frequently accompany insulin resistance. As a result, most of the clinical trials conducted in humans highlight PLC as a potential treatment option in cardiovascular diseases such as peripheral arterial disease, chronic heart failure, or stable angina, especially when type 2 diabetes mellitus or hyperglycemia (i.e., patients on hemodialysis) are also present. The aim of this review is to summarize the pharmacological effects and possible therapeutic applications of PLC, including the most recent findings to date.

Propionyl-L-carnitine corrects metabolic and cardiovascular alterations in diet-induced obese mice and improves liver respiratory chain activity

         (Mingorance, Duluc et al. 2012) Download

AIMS: Obesity is a primary contributor to acquired insulin resistance leading to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular alterations. The carnitine derivate, propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC), plays a key role in energy control. Our aim was to evaluate metabolic and cardiovascular effects of PLC in diet-induced obese mice. METHODS: C57BL/6 mice were fed a high-fat diet for 9 weeks and then divided into two groups, receiving either free- (vehicle-HF) or PLC-supplemented water (200 mg/kg/day) during 4 additional weeks. Standard diet-fed animals were used as lean controls (vehicle-ST). Body weight and food intake were monitored. Glucose and insulin tolerance tests were assessed, as well as the HOMA(IR), the serum lipid profile, the hepatic and muscular mitochondrial activity and the tissue nitric oxide (NO) liberation. Systolic blood pressure, cardiac and endothelial functions were also evaluated. RESULTS: Vehicle-HF displayed a greater increase of body weight compared to vehicle-ST that was completely reversed by PLC treatment without affecting food intake. PLC improved the insulin-resistant state and reversed the increased total cholesterol but not the increase in free fatty acid, triglyceride and HDL/LDL ratio induced by high-fat diet. Vehicle-HF exhibited a reduced cardiac output/body weight ratio, endothelial dysfunction and tissue decrease of NO production, all of them being improved by PLC treatment. Finally, the decrease of hepatic mitochondrial activity by high-fat diet was reversed by PLC. CONCLUSIONS: Oral administration of PLC improves the insulin-resistant state developed by obese animals and decreases the cardiovascular risk associated to this metabolic alteration probably via correction of mitochondrial function.

Plasma Carnitine Level in Heart Failure Patients With Sleep Disordered Breathing

         (Miyata, Yoshihisa et al. 2012) Download

Background: Carnitine plays an important role in the utilization of fatty acids and glucose in the myocardium. Although myocardial carnitine level decreases in the failing heart, it is still unclear about circulating levels of carnitine in chronic heart failure (CHF). Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) has a critical association with mortality and morbidity of CHF patients. We hypothesized that plasma carnitine level is increased due to the leakage from damaged cardiomyocytes or deficient carnitine transport into cells in CHF patients with SDB. Therefore, we examined the relation of plasma carnitine level with SDB in CHF.

Methods and Results: We performed polysomnography and measured apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), central apnea index, obstructive apnea index, minimum SPO2, mean SPO2 and plasma levels of carnitine and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) in 106 CHF patients. These patients were divided into the four groups according to AHI: group Normal (no SDB: AHI<5 times/hr, n=14), group Mild (mild SDB: 5<AHI<15 times/hr, n=23), group Moderate (moderate SDB: 15<AHI<30 times/hr, n=31) and group Severe (severe SDB: 30<AHI times/hr, n=38). Levels of plasma carnitine were significantly higher in group Severe than in groups Normal and Mild (Normal: 61.5 ± 7.4 µmol/l, Mild: 66.9 ± 19.9 µmol/l, Moderate: 70.5 ± 19.7 µmol/l, Severe: 78.2 ± 13.6 µmol/l, P<0.01, vs. Normal; P<0.05, vs. Mild). There was a positive correlation between plasma carnitine level and AHI (R=0.29, P<0.01). There were no correlations between plasma carnitine level and the other polysomnographic data such as CAI, OAI, minimum SPO2 and mean SPO2. In addition, there was no significant correlation between levels of carnitine.

Conclusions: Severe SDB is associated with higher plasma carnitine level, and thus circulating carnitine may be a novel marker for the severity of SDB in CHF.

Plasma carnitine concentrations in patients undergoing open heart surgery

         (Nemoto, Yasuhara et al. 2004) Download

Carnitine is an essential cofactor for fatty acid (FA) metabolism, the predominant source of ATP in the normal aerobic heart. During myocardial ischemia, FA metabolism is impaired and tissue carnitine levels are depleted. Since the heart cannot synthesize carnitine, plasma carnitine could play an important role in maintaining myocardial carnitine levels during reperfusion. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of abnormal plasma carnitine concentrations in open heart surgery. Blood samples were obtained from eleven patients before, immediately after, and two hours after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Total and free carnitine levels were significantly reduced immediately after CPB (p<0.01) and remained depressed until two hours after CPB (p<0.01 vs. pre CPB), while acyl carnitine levels were unchanged over the course of this study. These depressed free carnitine levels might affect cardiac metabolism in the heart after open heart surgery. Carnitine supplement might be a useful adjunct in the therapy after open heart surgery.

L-Carnitine prevents the development of ventricular fibrosis and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in hypertensive heart disease

         (Omori, Ohtani et al. 2012) Download

OBJECTIVES: Prognosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) remains poor because of unknown pathophysiology and unestablished therapeutic strategy. This study aimed to identify a potential therapeutic intervention for HFpEF through metabolomics-based analysis. METHODS AND RESULTS: Metabolomics with capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry was performed using plasma of Dahl salt-sensitive rats fed high-salt diet, a model of hypertensive HFpEF, and showed decreased free-carnitine levels. Reassessment with enzymatic cycling method revealed the decreased plasma and left-ventricular free-carnitine levels in the HFpEF model. Urinary free-carnitine excretion was increased, and the expression of organic cation/carnitine transporter 2, which transports free-carnitine into cells, was down-regulated in the left ventricle (LV) and kidney in the HFpEF model. L-Carnitine was administered to the hypertensive HFpEF model. L-Carnitine treatment restored left-ventricular free-carnitine levels, attenuated left-ventricular fibrosis and stiffening, prevented pulmonary congestion, and improved survival in the HFpEF model independent of the antihypertensive effects, accompanied with increased expression of fatty acid desaturase (FADS) 1/2, rate-limiting enzymes in forming arachidonic acid, and enhanced production of arachidonic acid, a precursor of prostacyclin, and prostacyclin in the LV. In cultured cardiac fibroblasts, L-carnitine attenuated the angiotensin II-induced collagen production with increased FADS1/2 expression and enhanced production of arachidonic acid and prostacyclin. L-Carnitine-induced increase of arachidonic acid was canceled by knock-down of FADS1 or FADS2 in cultured cardiac fibroblasts. Serum free-carnitine levels were decreased in HFpEF patients. CONCLUSIONS: L-carnitine supplementation attenuates cardiac fibrosis by increasing prostacyclin production through arachidonic acid pathway, and may be a promising therapeutic option for HFpEF.

Protective role of L-carnitine and vitamin E on the testis of atherosclerotic rats

         (Salama, Kasem et al. 2013) Download

Atherosclerosis is a condition caused by lipid build-up and inflammation in the arteries, so hyperlipidemia is the major reason for atherosclerosis. Testis was found to be negatively affected by hyperlipidemia which leads to its impaired functions. Vitamin E and <sc>l</sc>-carnitine have well-known lipid-lowering and antioxidative activities. Triton WR 1339 is a non-ionic detergent, which induces severe hyperlipidemia by inhibition of lipoprotein lipase. The present study evaluates the protective role of vitamin E and <sc>l</sc>-carnitine on the testis in atherosclerosis and detects the most effective choice for protection against atherosclerosis; vitamin E, <sc>l</sc>-carnitine or a combination of both. A total of 80 albino male rats were divided into eight groups (10 rats for each group): control (G(1)), triton (G(2)), <sc>l</sc>-carnitine (G(3)), triton + <sc>l</sc>-carnitine (G(4)), vitamin E (G(5)), triton + vitamin E (G(6)), <sc>l</sc>-carnitine + vitamin E (G(7)) and triton + <sc>l</sc>-carnitine + vitamin E (G(8)). Data showed a significant increase in the levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TGs), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), 17 beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17 beta HSD), testicular catalase and malondialdehyde (MDA) in G(2) when compared with G(1), whereas high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), serum testosterone, testicular 17 ketosteroid reductase (17 KSR), total thiol and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) data showed a significant decrease in G(2) when compared with G(1). Treatment with <sc>l</sc>-carnitine or/and vitamin E helps in improving the adverse effect of triton; also the histological changes confirm this finding. So the present study recommends all people to include <sc>l</sc>-carnitine and vitamin E in their diet to be protected against atherosclerosis.

Carnitine Homeostasis, Mitochondrial Function, and Cardiovascular Disease

         (Sharma and Black 2009) Download

Carnitines are involved in mitochondrial transport of fatty acids and are of critical importance for maintaining normal mitochondrial function. This review summarizes recent experimental and clinical studies showing that mitochondrial dysfunction secondary to a disruption of carnitine homeostasis may play a role in decreased NO signaling and the development of endothelial dysfunction. Future challenges include development of agents that can positively modulate L-carnitine homeostasis which may have high therapeutic potential.

Enzymology of the carnitine biosynthesis pathway

         (Strijbis, Vaz et al. 2010) Download

The water-soluble zwitterion carnitine is an essential metabolite in eukaryotes required for fatty acid oxidation as it functions as a carrier during transfer of activated acyl and acetyl groups across intracellular membranes. Most eukaryotes are able to synthesize carnitine endogenously, besides their capacity to take up carnitine from the diet or extracellular medium through plasma membrane transporters. This review discusses the current knowledge on carnitine homeostasis with special emphasis on the enzymology of the four steps of the carnitine biosynthesis pathway.


Heart dysfunction induced by choline-deficiency in adult rats: the protective role of L-carnitine

         (Strilakou, Lazaris et al. 2013) Download

Choline is a B vitamin co-factor and its deficiency seems to impair heart function. Carnitine, a chemical analogue of choline, has been used as adjunct in the management of cardiac diseases. The study investigates the effects of choline deficiency on myocardial performance in adult rats and the possible modifications after carnitine administration. Wistar Albino rats (n=24), about 3 months old, were randomized into four groups fed with a) standard diet (control-CA), b) choline deficient diet (CDD), c) standard diet and carnitine in drinking water 0.15%w/v (CARN), d) choline deficient diet and carnitine (CDD+CARN). After four weeks of treatment, we assessed cardiac function under isometric conditions using the Langendorff preparations [Left Ventricular Developed Pressure (LVDP-mmHg), positive and negative first derivative of LVDP were evaluated], measured serum homocysteine and Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) levels and performed histopathology analyses. In the CDD group a compromised myocardium contractility compared to control (P=0.01), as assessed by LVDP, was noted along with a significantly impaired diastolic left ventricular function, as assessed by (-) dp/dt (P=0.02) that were prevented by carnitine. Systolic force, assessed by (+) dp/dt, showed no statistical difference between groups. A significant increase in serum BNP concentration was found in the CDD group (P<0.004) which was attenuated by carnitine (P<0.05), whereas homocysteine presented contradictory results (higher in the CDD+CARN group). Heart histopathology revealed a lymphocytic infiltration of myocardium and valves in the CDD group that was reduced by carnitine. In conclusion, choline deficiency in adult rats impairs heart performance; carnitine acts against these changes.


Increased plasma carnitine concentrations in preeclampsia

         (Thiele, Niezen-Koning et al. 2004) Download

OBJECTIVE: Preeclampsia is associated with abnormal lipid metabolism, including fatty acid metabolism. Carnitine plays an indispensable role in the oxidation of fatty acids. The aim of the study was to evaluate the possible role of abnormal fatty acid oxidation in preeclampsia by comparing plasma carnitine levels between preeclamptic and healthy control pregnant women. METHODS: Plasma concentrations of free carnitine and short-, medium-, and long-chain acylcarnitines were investigated with electrospray tandem mass spectrometry in pregnant women with preeclampsia (n = 33) and in normotensive healthy pregnant control subjects (n = 28). Excluded were multiple pregnancies and women with preexistent hypertension, diabetes, renal dysfunction, immune disease, and intrauterine fetal death. Control subjects were healthy pregnant women without hypertension or proteinuria. RESULTS: The results revealed that, except for the medium-chain plasma acylcarnitines, all plasma carnitines were significantly increased (P <.001) in the preeclamptic group (t test for unpaired samples). Free carnitine and the short- and long-chain acylcarnitine values were increased by approximately 50% compared with the control group. Total and short-chain plasma acylcarnitine levels were significantly correlated to diastolic blood pressure, whereas no relationship could be demonstrated between carnitine concentrations and the variables proteinuria and systolic blood pressure. CONCLUSION: The considerable increased plasma carnitine concentrations, together with the accumulation of lipids, support the role of abnormal lipid metabolism in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia. It is suggested that toxic metabolites resulting from abnormal fatty acid oxidation in the placenta contribute to the endothelial dysfunction of preeclampsia.


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