OBJECTIVES: L-carnitine is a naturally compound widely distributed in the body. It has an antiradical effect and decreases lipid peroxidation. In acute or chronic streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, the pancreatic content of carnitine was found to be significantly lower than nondiabetic group. We investigated the effects of L-carnitine on the development of STZ-induced diabetes in rats, to determine if L-carnitine can prevent the onset of diabetes or reduce the severity of hyperglycemia and this prevention/reduction is associated with the reduction in oxidative stress.
SETTING AND DESIGN: The rats were divided into 3 groups: Control, STZ-treated (65 mg/kg intraperitoneally) and L-carnitine (500 mg/kg) and STZ-treated.
METHODS: Oxidative stress was assessed by measuring pancreatic thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) formation levels using the method of Rehncrona et al, pancreatic superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities using a Randox test combination (RANSOD and RANDOX).
RESULTS: L-carnitine did not prevent the onset of diabetes at this dose. Development of diabetes was associated with an increase in pancreatic TBARS (0.028 +/- 0.008 and 0.046 +/- 0.017 nmol/mg Protein, respectively), and GPx activity (0.067 +/- 0.011 and 0.098 +/- 0.016 U/mg Protein, respectively).
MAIN FINDINGS: L-carnitine prevented this increase induced by diabetes; TBARS (0.039 +/- 0.006 nmol/mg Protein) and GPx activity (0.053 +/- 0.011 U/mg Protein).
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that L-carnitine exerts anti-oxidative effect in experimental diabetes.