Effects of levocarnitine on brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity in hemodialysis patients: a randomized controlled trial

Terumi Higuchi, Masanori Abe, Toshio Yamazaki, Mari Mizuno, Erina Okawa, Hideyuki Ando, Osamu Oikawa, Kazuyoshi Okada, Fumito Kikuchi, Masayoshi Soma
Nutrients 2014 December 22, 6 (12): 5992-6004

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of mortality in patients with end-stage kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease patients often exhibit a deficiency in L-carnitine due to loss during hemodialysis (HD). We studied the effects of L-carnitine supplementation on brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), a marker of atherosclerosis, in HD patients.

METHODS: This was a prospective, open-label, randomized, parallel controlled, multi-center trial testing the anti-atherosclerotic efficacy of oral L-carnitine administration (20 mg/kg/day). HD patients (n = 176, mean age, 67.2 ± 10.3 years old; mean duration of HD, 54 ± 51 months) with plasma free L-carnitine deficiency (<40 μmol/L) were randomly assigned to the oral L-carnitine group (n = 88) or control group (n = 88) and monitored during 12 months of treatment.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences in baseline clinical variables between the L-carnitine and control groups. L-carnitine supplementation for 12 months significantly increased total, free, and acyl carnitine levels, and reduced the acyl/free carnitine ratio. The baPWV value decreased from 2085 ± 478 cm/s at baseline to 1972 ± 440 cm/s after six months (p < 0.05) to 1933 ± 363 cm/s after 12 months (p < 0.001) of L-carnitine administration, while no significant changes in baPWV were observed in the control group. Baseline baPWV was the only factor significantly correlated with the decrease in baPWV.

CONCLUSIONS: L-carnitine supplementation significantly reduced baPWV in HD patients. L-carnitine may be a novel therapeutic strategy for preventing the progression of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.


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