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The variation of carnitine content in human blood cells during disease —A study in bacterial infection and inflammatory bowel disease

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Carnitine in erythrocytes and leucocytes represents a small but essential part of the cellular carnitine pool. It was the objective of this study to document the changes of blood cell carnitine concentrations in disease entities with an enhanced cellular metabolism during acute and chronic inflammation. The plasma, erythrocyte, lymphocyte, granulocyte and thrombocyte carnitine concentrations were determined in 23 patients (11.0 ± 8.8 years) with bacterial infections and nine patients (17.5 ± 2.4 years) with Crohn disease and compared to 20 healthy controls (27.0 ±10.6 years). In patients with bacterial infections the granulocyte carnitine concentrations (126.4 ± 73.5 nmoles/106 cells) were higher (P <0.001) than in controls (37.9 ± 22.8 nmoles/106 cells). In patients with Crohn disease the lymphocyte carnitine concentrations (169.4 ± 108.2 nmoles/106 cells) were increased (P < 0.001) when compared to controls (48.1 ± 18.3 nmoles/106 cells). The plasma carnitine concentrations were decreased (P < 0.05) in both patient groups, whereas they were increased (P < 0.05) in the patients' erythrocytes. The carnitine concentrations in thrombocytes did not differ significantly within the individual groups.

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AC :

esterified carnitine

FC :

free carnitine

TC :

total carnitine


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Demirkol, M., Sewell, A.C. & Böhles, H. The variation of carnitine content in human blood cells during disease —A study in bacterial infection and inflammatory bowel disease. Eur J Pediatr 153, 565–568 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02190659

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Key words

  • Carnitine Lymphocytes
  • Granulocytes
  • Crohn disease
  • Bacterial infection