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

Relationships between muscle carnitine, age and oxidative status.

Muscle carnitine levels were examined in 31 younger [mean (SD), 27 (5) years] and 27 older [49 (8) years] men. Needle biopsies were obtained from the lateral gastrocnemius or vastus lateralis muscles and assayed for free and total carnitine concentrations via a 5,5'-Dithiobis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid) DTNB-linked spectrophotometric procedure. A subgroup of subjects (n = 28) were assessed for citrate synthase ( CS) and succinate dehydrogenase ( SDH) activity, and type I muscle fiber composition (% type I fibers). An additional sub-group of nine subjects was assessed for free and total serum carnitine levels. No mean (SEM) differences in free [21.6 (0.7) vs 20.3 (0.9) mumol.g dry weight-1] and total [26.4 (0.6) vs 26.1 (0.9) mumol.g dry weight-1) muscle carnitine levels were found between the younger and older subjects, respectively. Correlational data revealed no significant relationships between total muscle carnitine and CS (r = -0.36), SDH (r = -0.26), or % type I fibers (r = -0.16). In addition, there was a low non-significant relationship between serum and muscle total carnitine concentrations (r = -0.44). These findings suggest that muscle carnitine levels are similar between younger and older males, and there does not appear to be any relationship between muscle carnitine and markers of muscle oxidative potential (i.e., oxidative enzymes, % type I fiber). Since serum carnitine is often used as an indicator of body carnitine status, it is noteworthy that we found a low negative relationship between blood and muscle carnitine concentrations.[1]


  1. Relationships between muscle carnitine, age and oxidative status. Starling, R.D., Costill, D.L., Fink, W.J. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology. (1995) [Pubmed]
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