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Gynakol Geburtshilfliche Rundsch. 2009;49(4):230-5. doi: 10.1159/000301075. Epub 2010 May 19.

Relationship between carnitine, fatty acids and insulin resistance.

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Center for Physiology and Pathophysiology, Institute of Medical Chemistry, Medical University of Vienna, Währingerstrasse 10, Vienna, Austria.


Increased plasma free fatty acid (FFA) levels are a feature of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of L-carnitine supplementation on plasma lipids and the expression of enzymes in peripheral mononucleated cells (PMNC) involved in the regulation of fatty acid and glucose oxidation. L-Carnitine supplementation of 2 g/day resulted in a significant decrease in plasma FFA and in a less pronounced diminution of the plasma triacylglycerols. In addition, a concomitant increase in the relative mRNA abundances of carnitine acyltransferases (5- to 10-fold) and of the carnitine carrier OCTN2 (12-fold) in PMNC of pregnant women was found. The results of the present study provide evidence that L-carnitine supplementation in pregnancy (2 g/day) avoids a striking increase in plasma FFA, which are thought to be the main cause of insulin resistance and consequently gestational diabetes mellitus.

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