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LE Magazine August 2002

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Dietary L-carnitine supplementation in obese cats alters carnitine metabolism and decreases ketosis during fasting and induced hepatic lipidosis.

This study was designed to determine whether dietary carnitine supplement could protect cats from ketosis and improve carnitine and lipid metabolism in experimental feline hepatic lipidosis (FHL). Lean spayed queens received a diet containing 40 (CL group, n = 7) or 1000 (CH group, n = 4) mg/kg of L-carnitine during obesity development. Plasma fatty acid, beta-hydroxybutyrate and carnitine, and liver and muscle carnitine concentrations were measured during experimental induction of FHL and after treatment. In control cats (CL group), fasting and FHL increased the plasma concentrations of fatty acids two- to three-fold (P < 0.0001) and beta-hydroxybutyrate > 10-fold (from a basal 0.22 +/- 0.03 to 1.70 +/- 0.73 after three-week fasting and 3.13 +/- 0.49 mmol/L during FHL). In carnitine-supplemented cats, these variables increased significantly (P < 0.0001) only during FHL (beta-hydroxybutyrate, 1.42 +/- 0.17 mmol/L). L-Carnitine supplementation significantly increased plasma, muscle and liver carnitine concentrations. Liver carnitine concentration increased dramatically from the obese state to FHL in nonsupplemented cats, but not in supplemented cats, which suggests de novo synthesis of carnitine from endogenous amino acids in control cats and reversible storage in supplemented cats. These results demonstrate the protective effect of a dietary L-carnitine supplement against fasting ketosis during obesity induction. Increasing the L-carnitine level of diets in cats with low energy requirements, such as after neutering, and a high risk of obesity could therefore be recommended.

J Nutr 2002 Feb;132(2):204-10

Regulation of carnitine acyltransferase synthesis in lean and obese Zucker rats by dehydroepiandrosterone and clofibrate.

The effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and clofibrate on mitochondrial and peroxisomal proliferation and carnitine acyltransferases [mitochondrial carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) and peroxisomal carnitine octanoyltransferase (COT)] were measured in lean and obese female Zucker rats. DHEA increased total hepatic mitochondrial protein two-fold; clofibrate increased total hepatic peroxisomal protein more than five-fold. Both DHEA and clofibrate administration increased enzyme activities, immunoreactive protein, messenger RNA levels and transcription rates for the carnitine acyltransferases. Transcription rates and messenger RNA concentration for both carnitine acyltransferases correlated with the increases in activity. These data suggest that the hepatic CPT and COT in female Zucker rats are regulated primarily at the transcriptional level by DHEA and clofibrate.

J Nutr 1991 Apr;121(4):525-31

The clinical and metabolic effects of rapid weight loss in obese pet cats and the influence of supplemental oral L-carnitine.

The efficacy, safety, and metabolic consequences of rapid weight loss in privately owned obese cats by means of a canned weight-reduction diet and the influence of orally administered L-carnitine on rate of weight loss, routine clinical evaluations, hepatic ultrasonography, plasma amino acid profiles, and carnitine analytes were evaluated. A double-blinded placebo-controlled design was used with cats randomly divided into 2 groups: Group 1 (n = 14) received L-carnitine (250 mg PO q24h) in aqueous solution and group 2 (n = 10) received an identical-appearing water placebo. Median obesity (body condition scores and percentage ideal body weight) in each group was 25%. Caloric intake was restricted to 60% of maintenance energy requirements (60 kcal/kg) for targeted ideal weight. The reducing formula was readily accepted by all cats. Significant weight loss was achieved by week 18 in each group without adverse effects (group 1 = 23.7%, group 2 = 19.6%). Cats receiving carnitine lost weight at a significantly faster rate (P < .05). Significant increases in carnitine values developed in each group (P < .02). However, significantly higher concentrations of all carnitine moieties and a greater percentage of acetylcarnitine developed in cats of group 1 (P < .01). The dietary formula and described reducing strategy can safely achieve a 20% weight reduction within 18 weeks in obese cats. An aqueous solution of L-carnitine (250 mg PO q12h) was at least partially absorbed, was nontoxic, and significantly increased plasma carnitine analyte concentrations as well as rate of weight loss.

J Vet Intern Med 2000 Nov-Dec;14(6):598-608

Effect of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate on carnitine acetyl transferase activity and L-carnitine levels in oophorectomized rats.

Alteration in energy metabolism of postmenopausal women might be related to the reduction of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS). DHEA and DHEAS decline with age, leveling at their nadir near menopause. DHEA and DHEAS modulate fatty acid metabolism by regulating carnitine acyltransferases and CoA. The purpose of this study was to determine whether dietary supplementation with DHEAS would also increase tissue L-carnitine levels, carnitine acetyltransferase (CAT) activity and mitochondrial respiration in oophorectomized rats. Plasma L-carnitine levels rose following oophorectomy in all groups (P < 0.0001). Supplementation with DHEAS was not associated with further elevation of plasma L-carnitine levels, but with increased hepatic total and free L-carnitine (P = 0.021 and P < 0.0001, respectively) and cardiac total L-carnitine concentrations (P = 0.045). In addition, DHEAS supplementation increased both hepatic and cardiac CAT activities (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.05 respectively). CAT activity positively correlated with the total and free carnitine levels in both liver and heart (r = 0.764, r = 0.785 and r = 0.700, r = 0.519, respectively). Liver mitochondrial respiratory control ratio, ADP:O ratio and oxygen uptake were similar in both control and supplemented groups. These results demonstrate that in oophorectomized rats, dietary DHEAS supplementation increases the liver and heart L-carnitine levels and CAT activities. In conclusion, DHEAS may modulate L-carnitine level and CAT activity in estrogen deficient rats. The potential role of DHEAS in the regulation of fatty acid oxidation in postmenopausal women is worthy of investigation.

Biochim Biophys Acta 1997 Feb 18;1344(3):201-9

Carnitine and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate induce protein synthesis in porcine primary osteoblast-like cells.

Age-related bone loss eventually leads to osteopenia in men and women. The etiology of age-related bone loss is currently unknown; however, decreased osteoblast activity contributes to this phenomenon. In turn, osteoblast proliferation and function is dependent on energy production, thus the loss of energy production that occurs with age may account for the deficient osteoblast activity. Carnitine and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS), both of which decline with age, promote energy production through fatty acid metabolism. Thus, we hypothesized that carnitine and DHEAS would increase osteoblast activity in vitro. Accordingly, we measured the effect of carnitine and DHEAS on palmitic acid oxidation as a measure of energy production, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and collagen type I (COL) as indices of osteoblast function in primary porcine osteoblast-like cell cultures. Carnitine (10(-3) and 10(-1) M) but not DHEAS (10(-9), 10(-8), and 10(-7) M) increased carnitine levels within the cells. Carnitine alone and in combination with DHEAS increased palmitic acid oxidation. Both carnitine and DHEAS alone and in an additive fashion increased ALP activity and COL levels. These results demonstrate that in osteoblast-like cells in vitro, energy production can be increased by carnitine and osteoblast protein production can be increased by both carnitine and DHEAS. These data suggest that carnitine and DHEAS supplementation in the elderly may stimulate osteoblast activity and decrease age-related bone loss.

Calcif Tissue Int 1999 Jun;64(6):527-33

Correlation of serum L-carnitine and dehydro-epiandrosterone sulphate levels with age and sex in healthy adults.

OBJECTIVES: L-carnitine and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) independently promote mitochondrial energy metabolism. We therefore wondered if an age-related deficiency of L-carnitine or DHEA may account for the declining energy metabolism associated with age. METHODS: we evaluated serum levels of L-carnitine and the sulphated derivative of DHEA (DHEAS) in a cross-sectional study of 216 healthy adults, aged 20 to 95. RESULTS: serum DHEAS levels declined, while total carnitine levels increased with age (P < 0.0001). Total and free carnitine and DHEAS levels were lower in women than men (P < 0.0001). Esterified/free (E/F) carnitine (inversely related to carnitine availability) increased with age in both sexes (P=0.012). CONCLUSION: reduced carnitine availability correlates with the age-related decline of DHEAS levels. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that decreased energy metabolism with age relates to DHEAS levels and carnitine availability.

Age Ageing 1999 Mar;28(2):211-6

Therapeutic effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in diabetic mice.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a major adrenal secretory steroid in humans, was therapeutic when fed in a concentration of 0.4% to C57BL/KsJ mice with either non-insulin-dependent or insulin-dependent diabetes. Genetically diabetic (db/db) mice of both sexes develop obesity and a glucose intolerance and hyperglycemia associated with insulin resistance by 2 mo of age, and exhibit beta-cell necrosis and islet atrophy by 4 mo. In contrast, DHEA feeding initiated between 1 and 4 mo of age, while only moderately effective in preventing obesity, did prevent the other pathogenic changes and effected a rapid remission of hyperglycemia, a preservation of beta-cell structure and function, and an increased insulin sensitivity as measured by glucose tolerance tests. DHEA feeding was also therapeutic to normal C57BL/KsJ male mice made diabetic by multiple low doses of streptozotocin (SZ). While DHEA treatments did not block either the direct cytotoxic action of SZ on beta-cells or the development of insulitis, the steroid significantly moderated the severity of the ensuing diabetes (reduced hyperglycemia and water consumption, and increased plasma insulin and numbers of residual, granulated beta-cells).

Diabetes 1982 Sep;31(9):830-3

Molecular Differences Caused by Differentiation of 3T3-L1 Preadipocytes in the Presence of either Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) or 7-Oxo-DHEA.

The effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and 7-oxo-DHEA on the cell size, adiposity, and fatty acid composition of differentiating 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cells are correlated with stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) expression (mRNA and protein levels) and enzyme activity. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting shows that preadipocyte cells treated with methylisobutylxanthine, dexamethasone, and insulin (MDI) plus DHEA comprise a population distribution of predominantly large cells with reduced adiposity. In contrast, cells treated with MDI plus 7-oxo-DHEA comprise a population distribution of almost equal proportions of small and large cells that have an adiposity equivalent to cells differentiated with MDI alone. The cells treated with MDI plus DHEA have significantly reduced levels of total fatty acid, mainly due to a dramatic reduction in the level of palmitoleic (Delta(9)-16:1) acid. The cells treated with MDI plus 7-oxo-DHEA have a significantly increased level of total fat, primarily due to increased levels of Delta(9)-16:1 and palmitic (16:0) acids. At the molecular level, the DHEA-treated cells contain lowered amounts of SCD1 mRNA and antibody-detectable desaturase protein, while 7-oxo-DHEA-treated cells contained elevated levels of SCD1 mRNA and protein. Inhibition of differentiation in DHEA-treated cells was also suggested by a reduction in the mRNA level of the adipogenic gene aP2. At the level of microsomal enzymatic activity, SCD activity was decreased in DHEA-treated cells while the SCD activity was increased in 7-oxo-DHEA-treated cells. The changes in mRNA levels and enzyme activity were concentration-dependent and appeared as early as day 3 of the differentiation protocol. The results show that DHEA and 7-oxo-DHEA have distinct modes of action with respect to the complex transcriptional cascade required for differentiation. Furthermore, differences in the insulin-stimulated uptake of 2-deoxyglucose and in the activity of carnitine palmitoyl transferase observed from either DHEA- or 7-oxo-DHEA-treated cells support the ability of DHEA to produce a thermogenic effect in differentiating preadipocytes, while 7-oxo-DHEA promotes differentiation without other changes typical of thermogenesis.

Biochemistry 2002 Apr 30;41(17):5473-82

Characteristics of dehydroepiandrosterone as a peroxisome proliferator.
Treatment of rats with dehydroepiandrosterone (300 mg/kg body weight, per os, 14 days) caused a remarkable increase in the number of peroxisomes and peroxisomal beta-oxidation activity in the liver. The activities of carnitine acetyltransferase, microsomal laurate 12-hydroxylation, cytosolic palmitoyl-CoA hydrolase, malic enzyme and some other enzymes were also increased. The increases in these enzyme activities were all greater in male rats than in female rats. Immunoblot analysis revealed remarkable induction of acyl-CoA oxidase and enoyl-CoA hydratase/3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase bifunctional enzyme in the liver and to a smaller extent in the kidney, whereas no significant induction of these enzymes was found in the heart. The increase in the hepatic peroxisomal beta-oxidation activity reached a maximal level at day five of the treatment of dehydroepiandrosterone and the increased activity rapidly returned to the normal level on discontinuation of the treatment. The increase in the activity was also dose-dependent, which was saturable at a dose of more than 200 mg/kg body weight. All these features in enzyme induction caused by dehydroepiandrosterone correlate well with those observed in the treatment of clofibric acid, a peroxisome proliferator. Co-treatment of dehydroepiandrosterone and clofibric acid showed no synergism in the enhancement of peroxisomal beta-oxidation activity, suggesting the involvement of a common process in the mechanism by which these compounds induce the enzymes. These results indicate that dehydroepiandrosterone is a typical peroxisome proliferator. Since dehydroepiandrosterone is a naturally occurring C19 steroid in mammals, the structure of which is novel compared with those of peroxisome proliferators known so far, this compound could provide particular information in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the induction of peroxisome proliferation.

Biochim Biophys Acta 1991 Apr 17;1092(2):233-43


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