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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Surplus acylcarnitines in the plasma of starved rats derive from the liver.

The method used here to assess the contribution of liver to plasma acylcarnitine is based on the idea that in rat, shortly after administration of [3H]butyrobetaine the [3H]carnitine appearing in the plasma derives from the liver and so does the acyl moiety of [acyl-3H] carnitine. In the perchloric acid extracts of plasma and liver, the ester fraction of total carnitine was determined by enzymatic analysis and that of [3H]carnitines was determined by high performance liquid chromatography. The ester fraction of total carnitine in the plasma of fed rats was 32.6% while that of [3H]carnitines was 67.9%, 1 h following injection of [3H]butyrobetaine. For 48 h starved rats the equivalent values were 54.2 and 84.0%, respectively. 24 h after the administration of [3H]butyrobetaine, the ester content became the same in the total and [3H]carnitines. That the newly synthesized carnitine was more acylated (67.9 versus 32.6%, fed) indicates that liver exports acyl groups with carnitine as carrier. The observation that the ester fraction in the newly synthesized plasma carnitine increased with fasting (84.0 versus 67.9%) indicates that the surplus plasma acylcarnitine in fasting ketosis derives from the liver. Perfused livers, however, released carnitine with the same ester content (60-61%) whether they were from fed or fasted animals. Probably, the increased plasma [acylcarnitine] in fasting develops not by an increased ester output from the liver but by an altered handling in extrahepatic tissues.[1]


  1. Surplus acylcarnitines in the plasma of starved rats derive from the liver. Sandor, A., Cseko, J., Kispal, G., Alkonyi, I. J. Biol. Chem. (1990) [Pubmed]
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