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J Peripher Nerv Syst. 1996;1(2):157-63.

L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine in human nerves from normal and diabetic subjects.

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Department of Neurology, Dino Ferrari Center, IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore, Milano, Italy.


Marked reduction in the contents of L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine has been reported in peripheral nerves of rats with experimental diabetes. Since these substances have been claimed to improve a number of signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in controlled clinical trials, this study was aimed at assessing whether nerves from diabetic subjects would also reveal similar decrease in the concentration of L-carnitine and acetyl-L-caritine. To this end, these substances were measured in nerves obtained from 11 patients with diabetic neuropathy, 13 patients with ischemic non-diabetic neuropathy, and 12 normal controls. Nerves from patients with either diabetic neuropathy and ischemic non-diabetic neuropathy showed levels of both carnitines lower than those from normal controls. However, differences among the three groups were not statistically significant, indicating that a reduction in these amino acids probably represents only a co-factor in the development of the variegated clinical picture of human diabetic neuropathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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