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Am J Physiol. 1994 Aug;267(2 Pt 2):H455-61.

Contrasting effects of propionate and propionyl-L-carnitine on energy-linked processes in ischemic hearts.

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Dipartimento di Chimica Biologica, Università di Padua, Italy.


Propionyl-L-carnitine, unlike L-carnitine, is known to improve myocardial function and metabolism altered during the course of ischemia-reperfusion. In this study, the effect of propionyl-L-carnitine has been compared with that of propionate and carnitine on the performance of rat hearts perfused with a glucose-containing medium either under normoxia, ischemia, or postischemic reperfusion. In the postischemic phase, contractile parameters were partially restored both in the control and in the propionate plus carnitine-treated hearts, were markedly impaired by propionate, and were fully recovered by propionyl-L-carnitine. In addition, propionyl-L-carnitine, but not propionate, reduced the functional decay of mitochondria prepared from the ischemic hearts. Even in normoxic conditions propionate, unlike propionyl-L-carnitine, caused a drastic reduction of free CoA and L-carnitine. The concomitant increase in lactate production and decrease in ATP content might be explained by the inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase caused by the accumulation of propionyl-CoA. Indeed, when pyruvate was the only oxidizable substrate, propionate induced a gradual decrease in developed pressure, which was largely prevented by L-carnitine. The protective effect of propionyl-L-carnitine may be a consequence of the anaplerotic utilization of propionate in the presence of an optimal amount of ATP and free L-carnitine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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