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

A. Sandor, J. Cseko, G. Kispal, I. Alkonyi

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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. Twenty-four 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 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22313-22316
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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