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Carnitine supplements reverse glucose intolerance in animals
Date:8/12/2009

or helping fatty acids enter the mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, where fatty acids are "burned" to give cells energy for their various tasks. Carnitine also helps move excess fuel from cells into the circulating blood, which then redistributes this energy source to needier organs or to the kidneys for removal. These processes occur through the formation of acylcarnitine molecules, energy molecules that can cross membrane barriers that encase all cells.

Researchers at Duke had observed that skeletal muscle of obese rats produced high amounts of the acylcarnitines, which requires free carnitine. As these molecules started to accumulate, the availability of free, unprocessed carnitine decreased. This imbalance was linked to fuel-burning problems, that is, impairments in the cells' combustion of both fat and glucose fuel.

"We suspected that persistent increases in acylcarnitines in the rats were causing problems, and we could also see that the availability of free carnitine was decreasing with weight gain and aging," said Muoio. "It appeared that carnitine could no longer do its job when chronic metabolic disruptions were stressing the system. That's when we designed an experiment to add extra carnitine to the rats' diet."

Muoio is also a professor in the departments of medicine, pharmacology and cancer biology.


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Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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