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Lett Drug Des Discov. 2017 Jun;14(6):737-742. doi: 10.2174/1570180814666170216102632.

L-Carnitine Supplementation Improves Self-Rating Depression Scale Scores in Uremic Male Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis.

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Research Institute of Medical Mass Spectrometry.
Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology.
Department of Pathophysiology and Therapeutics of Diabetic Vascular Complications, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan.



Depression is highly prevalent in uremic patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD). We previously found that low free-carnitine levels are associated with depression severity in male patients undergoing HD. However, whether L-carnitine supplementation improves the depression state in male patients undergoing HD remains unclear.


Sixteen male patients undergoing HD were orally administered 900 mg L-carnitine daily or intravenously administered 1000 mg L-carnitine immediately after undergoing HD for 3 months. The depression state and various types of carnitine levels were evaluated using the self-rating depression scale (SDS) and tandem mass spectrometry, respectively, at baseline and 3 months after treatment.


L-carnitine supplementation significantly increased serum levels of free and other acylcarnitine types, associated with improved SDS scores in male patients undergoing HD. Univariate analysis revealed that low baseline butyryl- and isovaleryl-/2-methylbutyryl-carnitine levels were significantly correlated with SDS scores after treatment. Multiple regression analysis revealed that butyryl-carnitine levels were a sole independent predictor of SDS scores after treatment (r2 = 0.533).


L-carnitine supplementation for 3 months improved the depression state in uremic male patients undergoing HD. Thus, low butyryl-carnitine levels may predict the clinical response to L-carnitine supplementation in male patients undergoing HD and who have mild depression.


Carnitine; SDS; depression; hemodialysis; mood disorder; uremic male patients

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