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Annu Rev Nutr. 1998;18:179-206.

Genetic disorders of carnitine metabolism and their nutritional management.

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Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Department of Nutrition, Cleveland, USA.


Carnitine functions as a substrate for a family of enzymes, carnitine acyltransferases, involved in acyl-coenzyme A metabolism and as a carrier for long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria. Carnitine biosynthesis and/or dietary carnitine fulfill the body's requirement for carnitine. To date, a genetic disorder of carnitine biosynthesis has not been described. A genetic defect in the high-affinity plasma membrane carnitine-carrier(in) leads to renal carnitine wasting and primary carnitine deficiency. Myopathic carnitine deficiency could be due to an increase in efflux moderated by the carnitine-carrier(out). Defects in the carnitine transport system for fatty acids in mitochondria have been described and are being examined at the molecular and pathophysiological levels. the nutritional management of these disorders includes a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet and avoidance of those events that promote fatty acid oxidation, such as fasting, prolonged exercise, and cold. Large-dose carnitine treatment is effective in systemic carnitine deficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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