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Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2007 Oct;59(2):121-8. Epub 2007 Aug 22.

Hepatoprotective effect of L-carnitine against acute acetaminophen toxicity in mice.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Kafkas, 36040 Kars, Turkey.


L-carnitine is a cofactor in the transfer of long-chain fatty acid allowing the beta-oxidation of fatty acid in the mitochondria. It is also a known antioxidant with protective effects against lipid peroxidation. In this study, hepatoprotective effect of L-carnitine was investigated against acetaminophen (AA)-induced liver toxicity where mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are thought to be involved in AA hepatotoxicity. Sixty-four Balb/C mice were divided into eight groups. Mice were dosed with single-AA injection (500 mg/kg via the intra peritoneal route) with or without L-carnitine (500 mg/kg for 5 days starting 5 days before AA injection via intra peritoneal route) and sampled at 4, 8 and 24 h following AA injection. AA increased serum AST, ALT, total sialic acid (TSA) and MDA as well as tissue TSA and MDA levels significantly with the highest increase observed at 4 h, but there was a decrease in blood and tissue GSH level. Administration of L-carnitine significantly reduced AA-induced elevations in AST, ALT, TSA and MDA concentrations and increased GSH levels at all sampling points. AA also induced necrosis, hyperemia, sinusoidal congestion and hemorrhage with time-dependent increase in severity, but the degree of necrosis and histopathologic alterations were most severe at 24 h following AA administration. However, the degree of pathologic alterations was less severe with simultaneous L-carnitine application. These results suggest that AA results in oxidative damage in the liver with an acute effect. L-carnitine also has a prominent protective effect against AA toxicity and may be of therapeutic value in the treatment of AA-induced hepatotoxicity.

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