Dec 14, 2004

Modulatory effects of L-carnitine on glucocorticoid receptor activity

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Irini ManoliSalvatore Alesci


L-carnitine (3-hydroxy-4-N,N,N-trimethylaminobutyrate) is a conditionally essential nutrient with a major role in cellular energy metabolism. It is available in the United States as both a prescription drug and an over-the-counter nutritional supplement. Accumulating evidence from both animal and human studies indicates that pharmacologic doses of L-carnitine (LCAR) have immunomodulatory effects resembling those of glucocorticoids (GC). On the other hand, in contrast to GC, which cause bone loss, LCAR seems to have positive effects on bone metabolism. To explore the molecular bases of this GC-like activity of LCAR, we investigated its effects on glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-modulated cytokine release ex vivo, and on the transcriptional activity, intracellular trafficking, and binding of GR in vitro. At high noncytotoxic doses, LCAR (a) suppressed the lipopolysaccharide-stimulated release of tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-12 from primary human monocytes in a GC-like fashion, (b) stimulated the transcriptional activity of GR on the GC-responsive promoters, (c) triggered nuclear translocation of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-fused GR, and (d) reduced the whole cell binding of [(3)H]-dexamethasone to GR. These result...Continue Reading

  • References43
  • Citations11

Mentioned in this Paper

Immune System
Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
Glucocorticoid inhalants for obstructive airway disease
Glucocorticoid receptor alpha
Glucocorticoid Receptor Activity
Energy Metabolism
Transcription, Genetic

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