Potential role of carnitine in patients with renal insufficiency

C Wanner, W H Hörl
Klinische Wochenschrift 1986 July 1, 64 (13): 579-86
Carnitine metabolism is altered in renal insufficiency and influenced by the treatment modalities. Chronically uremic patients with end-stage renal disease under conservative therapy, hemodialysis, or peritoneal dialysis show low, normal, or elevated serum levels of TC and a distorted pattern of FC, SCAC, and LCAC. HD induces a marked depletion of FC, while predialytic elevated SCAC and LCAC are in the normal range at the end of dialysis treatment. All carnitine fractions rapidly return to predialysis levels 6 h after HD due to a transport of carnitine from muscle stores to plasma pool. Muscle carnitine content is elevated in chronic uremic patients under conservative therapy. Normal or decreased levels are observed in patients on long-term HD treatment. In addition, weekly losses of carnitine in patients undergoing HD or peritoneal dialysis do not exceed urinary carnitine excretion of CO. Supplementation with currently recommended doses (1-2 g L-carnitine i.v. at the end of each HD) is followed by a marked rise in plasma carnitine levels, suggesting limited carnitine utilization in uremia. Therefore, lower carnitine doses and modified application regimens should be considered to avoid exaggerated plasma levels of carnitine and carnitine esters. Furthermore, carnitine application has been reported to show beneficial, worsening, or no effect on the deranged lipid metabolism of the uremic patients. In patients undergoing CAPD or IPD predominantly normal serum carnitine levels have been reported. On the other hand, SCAC and LCAC esters are markedly elevated in these patients. After kidney transplantation the pattern of carnitine fractions is fully normalized in patients with plasma creatinine less than or equal to 120 mumol/l.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


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