Potential therapeutic role of carnitine and acetylcarnitine in neurological disorders.

Publication date: Feb 11, 2020

Current therapy of neurological disorders has several limitations. Although a high number of drugs are clinically available, several subjects do not achieve full symptomatic remission. In recent years there has been an increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of L-carnitine (LCAR) and acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) because of the multiplicity of actions they exert in energy metabolism, as antioxidants, neuromodulators and neuroprotectors. They also show excellent safety and tolerability profile.

To assess the role of LCAR and ALCAR in neurological disorders.

A meticulous review of the literature was conducted in order to establish the linkage between LCAR and ALCAR and neurological diseases.

LCAR and ALCAR mechanism and effects were studied for Alzheimer’s Disease, Depression, Neuropathic Pain, Bipolar Disorder, Parkinson’s Disease and Epilepsy in the elderly. Both substances exert their actions mainly on primary metabolism, enhancing energy production, through ?-oxidation, and the ammonia elimination via urea cycle promotion. These systemic actions impact positively on Central Nervous System state, as Ammonia and energy depletion seem to underlie most of the neurotoxic events, such as inflammation, oxidative stress, membrane degeneration, and neurotransmitters disbalances, present in neurological disorders, mainly in the elderly. The impact on bipolar disorder is controversial. LCAR absorption seems to be impaired in the elderly due to the decrease of active transportation, therefore ALCAR seems to be the more effective option to administer.

ALCAR emerges as a simple, economical and safe adjuvant option in order to impair the progression of most neurological disorders.

Maldonado, C., V’azquez, M., and Fagiolino, P. Potential therapeutic role of carnitine and acetylcarnitine in neurological disorders. 23967. 2020 Curr Pharm Des.

Concepts Keywords
Acetyl Energy depletion
Active Transportation Epilepsy
Adjuvant Pain
Alzheimer Events inflammation
Ammonia Bipolar disorder
Antioxidants Present neurological disorders
Bipolar Disorder Dietary supplements
Carnitine Quaternary ammonium compounds
Central Nervous System Organic compounds
Energy Chemical compounds
Epilepsy Carbonyl compounds
Inflammation Acetylcarnitine
Membrane Butyrates
Metabolism Bipolar disorder
Neurological Diseases Neurological disorder
Neurological Disorders
Oxidative Stress
Primary Metabolism
Urea Cycle


Type Source Name
drug DRUGBANK Levocarnitine
drug DRUGBANK Acetylcarnitine
disease MESH neurological disorders
pathway REACTOME Metabolism
disease MESH Depression
disease MESH Neuropathic Pain
disease MESH Bipolar Disorder
disease MESH Epilepsy
drug DRUGBANK Ammonia
disease MESH inflammation
disease MESH oxidative stress


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