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Cell Biol Toxicol. 2010 Aug;26(4):355-65. doi: 10.1007/s10565-009-9148-4. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

L-carnitine modulates blood platelet oxidative stress.

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Department of General Biochemistry, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland.


The oxidative stress induced by acute exertion may interfere with blood platelet activation. The beneficial effect of L-carnitine (gamma-trimethylamino-beta-hydroxybutyric acid) on oxidative stress in blood platelets has not been fully investigated; however, different studies indicate that this compound modulates platelet functions. The aim of our study was to assess the effects of L-carnitine on platelet activation and oxidative/nitrative protein damage (determined by the levels of protein carbonyl groups, thiol groups, and 3-nitrotyrosine residues) in resting blood platelets or platelets treated with peroxynitrite (ONOO(-), a strong physiological oxidant) in vitro. We also investigated the effects of L-carnitine on the level of platelet glutathione and on the formation of superoxide anion radicals O2(-*), lipid peroxidation measured by thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in blood platelets stimulated by thrombin (a strong physiological agonist), and platelet aggregation induced by adenosine diphosphate (a strong physiological stimulator). We have observed that carnitine decreases platelet activation (measured by platelet aggregation, the generation of O2(-*), and TBARS production). Moreover, our results in vitro demonstrate that carnitine may protect against oxidation of thiol groups induced by ONOO(-). Thus, carnitine may have some protectory effects against oxidative changes induced in blood platelets.

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