L-propionylcarnitine does not affect myocardial metabolic or functional response to chronotropic and inotropic stimulation after repetitive ischemia in anesthetized pigs

Dirk J. Duncker, Loes M.A. Sassen, G. Louis Bartels, Jan R. Van Meegen, Edward O. McFalls, Rob Krams, Karel Bezstarosti, Jos M.J. Lamers, Pieter D. Verdouw

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In postischemic myocardium, fatty acid oxidation may be deficient owing to depletion of carnitine and citric acid cycle intermediates and fatty acylCoA-induced inhibition of adenine nucleotide translocase. During postischemic stress, the impairment of the fatty acid oxidation may become more apparent. We therefore investigated in open-chest anesthetized pigs the effect of L-propionylcarnitine [100 mg/kg per day orally (p.o.) for 3 days and 50 mg/kg intravenously (i.v.) 2 h before the first occlusion; n = 13] on myocardial function and metabolism of postischemic (two cycles of 10-min occlusion each followed by 30-min reperfusion) myocardium under resting conditions and during chronotropic and inotropic stimulation with dobutamine. Myocardial levels of free carnitine were higher after pretreatment (5.7 ± 1.4 vs. 4.0 ± 1.3 μmol/g protein, p < 0.05). The ischemia-reperfusion-induced decreases in free carnitine were similar for both the untreated and treated animals, but in the latter free carnitine was not different from the baseline levels in the control animals. In untreated animals (n = 15), regional systolic segment shortening (SS) was 18.5 ± 5.5% (means ± SD) at baseline, but was reduced to 5.1 ± 5.5% (p < 0.05) at the end of the second reperfusion period. Myocardial ATP levels had decreased by 30% (p < 0.05) in the presence of a maintained energy charge, while myocardial oxygen and lactate consumption had decreased to 61% and 9% of baseline, respectively. During subsequent i.v. infusion of dobutamine (2 μg/kg/min), SS and myocardial oxygen consumption per beat increased to 75 and 65% of baseline, respectively, whereas lactate consumption per beat increased to only 25% of baseline. Decreases in myocardial ATP and oxygen and lactate consumption were not different between treated and untreated animals. L-Propionylcarnitine-treated animals displayed slightly better postischemic recovery of systolic SS than did control animals; to 39 and 28% (p = 0.056) of baseline, respectively, probably owing to a reduction in arterial blood pressure (BP), because L-propionylcarnitine prevented the increase in systemic vascular resistance produced by ischemia-reperfusion. L-Propionylcarnitine did not affect myocardial metabolic and contractile functional responses to chronotropic and inotropic stimulation. In a model of repetitive myocardial ischemia, L-propionylcarnitine prevents systemic vasoconstriction in response to ischemia and reperfusion and, probably as a result of the lower afterload, slightly ameliorates postischemic hypofunction, but loss of carnitine apparently does not play a role in myocardial hypofunction after brief repetitive ischemia and reperfusion in pigs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-498
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1993


  • Carnitine deficiency
  • High-energy phosphates
  • L-propionylcarnitine
  • Myocardial blood flow
  • Myocardial contractile function
  • Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion
  • Pig

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