Carnitine - a known compound, a novel function in neural cells
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Carnitine (4-N-trimethylammonium-3-hydroxybutyric acid) seems to fullfil in the brain a different role than in peripheral tissues.Carnitine is accumulated by neural cells in a sodium-dependent way.The existence of a novel rtansporter in plasma membrane, specific to compounds with a polar group in the beta-position with respect to carboxyl group, has been postulated.The presence of carnitine carrier in the inner mitochondrial membrane has been proven and the protein has been purified.It is postulated that its major role in adult brain would be rtanslocation of acetyl moieties from mitochondria into the cytoplas for acetylocholine synthesis.The latter process is stimulated by carnitine and choline in a synergistic way in cells utilizing glucose as a main energetic substrate.Carnitine metabolism in neural cells leads to accumulation of different acyl derivatives of carnitine.Palmitoylcarnitine can influence directly the activity of protein kinase C.An involvment of carnitine in a decrease of palmitate pool used for palmitoylation of regulatory proteins has been postulated.
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