Release of carnitine from the perfused rat liver

Attila Sandor, Gyula Kispal, Bela Melegh, Istvan Alkonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)


Perfused rat liver was shown to be the proper model for studies on hepatic cellular transport of carnitine. During recirculating perfusion the livers kept equilibrium with 45 nmol/ml total carnitine in perfusate, exhibited concentrative uptake and there was no sign of artificial leakage. The release side of the carnitine transport was characterized by utilizing outflow perfusions. The livers from fed rats exported daily 9.93 μmol per 100 g body weight total carnitine. This release rate is 4- or 10-fold higher than the estimated daily turnover in vivo or the measured urinary excretion. Therefore, the major part of the released carnitine has to reenter the liver. The outward carnitine transport does not depend on energy or the Na+-K+ pump, since it did not respond to metabolic poisons and oubain. However, the release rate was strongly inhibited by mersalyl and showed saturability in function of tissue carnitine levels. The Vmax of the saturable outward transport system was 2.47 nmol · min-1 · g-1 liver, the apparent Km was 0.27 mM tissue level (both as compared to total carnitine). These data showed the outward transport of carnitine from the liver to be protein mediated. The contribution of a diffusion (nonsaturable) component was estimated to be 20-25% in the range of tissue levels occurring in vivo. The rate of carnitine release from the liver decreased as an effect of 24 h starvation from the daily 9.92 μmol release to 6.55 p, mol on 100 g body weight basis. This decrease is more pronounced when the release rates are expressed on the basis of tissue carnitine levels. The resulting value can be called rate constant (at the linear part of the saturation curve. Fig. 5) and it decreased to 5.00 min-1 from 8.41 min-1 as an effect of starvation. We have concluded that the altered parameters of carnitine transport across the liver cell is decisive in developing the higher hepatic carnitine concentration in the fasted state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)/Lipids and Lipid Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 14 1985


  • (Rat liver)
  • Carnitine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology

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