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J Med Food. 2006 Winter;9(4):468-73.

L-carnitine stimulates lipolysis via induction of the lipolytic gene expression and suppression of the adipogenic gene expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

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Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Sudaemun-Ku, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


We investigated the lipolytic effects of L-carnitine in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. L-carnitine at 10-S100 nM suppressed lipid accumulation. The release of glycerol and free fatty acid into the medium was significantly increased by 1.5- and 1.7- fold, respectively, by the addition of 100 nM L-carnitine compared with the control (P < .05). The mRNA levels of hormone-sensitive lipase, carnitine palmitoyltransferase I-a, and acyl-coenzyme A oxidase, all of which participate in lipid catabolism, were increased in the presence of 100 nM L-carnitine by 2.8-, 2.2-, and 1.6-fold, respectively (P < .05). However, the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma and adipose-specific fatty acid-binding protein, which are involved in adipogenesis, were down-regulated by L-carnitine in 3T3-L1 adipocytes (P < .05). These results suggest an anti-obesity action of L-carnitine. L-carnitine may modulate lipid metabolism by stimulation of lipolysis and beta-oxidation accompanied by corresponding changes in gene expression and suppression of adipogenic gene expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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