Monatshefte für Chemie / Chemical Monthly

, Volume 136, Issue 8, pp 1493–1500 | Cite as

L-Carnitine, Immunomodulation, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-related Disorders

  • Salvatore AlesciEmail author
  • Mariana Gerschenson
  • Ioannis Ilias


The use of pharmacologic doses of the conditionally-essential nutrient L-carnitine (LC) has been associated with positive effects on the immune system. We have recently suggested that this property of LC could be mediated through activation of the glucocorticoid receptor alpha. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals, especially those on antiretroviral therapy, may become LC-deficient. This evidence, together with the immunomodulatory properties of LC, its known major role in lipid and energy metabolisms, and its proposed antiapoptotic and neuroprotective actions, have encouraged the use of LC supplementation as a potential treatment for HIV-related disorders, such as lipodystrophy and peripheral neuropathy. Preliminary results, mostly from small-scale uncontrolled studies are conflicting, whilst larger controlled trials are warranted.

Keywords. Carnitine; Immunity; Glucocorticoid receptor; HIV. 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salvatore Alesci
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mariana Gerschenson
    • 2
  • Ioannis Ilias
    • 3
  1. 1.Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Hawaii AIDS Clinical Research Program, Department of MedicineJohn A. Burns School of Medicine, University of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Department of PharmacologyMedical School, University of PatrasRion-PatrasGreece

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