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J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;41(1):223-32. doi: 10.3233/JAD-132063.

Decreased cerebrospinal fluid levels of L-carnitine in non-apolipoprotein E4 carriers at early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet-Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, NOVUM, Stockholm, Sweden.
Laboratory of Foodomics, Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL), Madrid, Spain.


Increasing evidence suggest that Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a heterogeneous disorder that includes several subtypes with different etiology and progression. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is being used to find new biomarkers reflecting the complexity of the pathological pathways within this disease. We used CSF and clinical data from patients to investigate the status of asymmetric dimethyl-L-arginine, creatine, suberylglycine, and L-carnitine along AD progression. These molecules play important roles in mitochondrial function and dysfunction in mitochondrial metabolism are involved in AD pathology. We found that non-APOE4 carriers show lower levels of L-carnitine in CSF early in AD. L-carnitine levels correlate with amyloid-β (Aβ) levels and Mini-Mental State Examination score, but do not add to the specificity or sensitivity of the classical AD CSF biomarkers, Aβ42, phospho-tau, and total-tau. Our results suggest APOE genotype-dependent differences in L-carnitine synthesis or metabolism along AD, and insinuate that L-carnitine treatments would be more beneficial for AD patients not carrying the APOE4 isoform.


APOE4; Alzheimer's disease; L-carnitine; biomarkers; cerebrospinal fluid

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