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Effects of Dietary L-Carnitine and Protein Level on Plasma Carnitine, Energy and Carnitine Balance, and Carnitine Biosynthesis of 20 kg Pigs

  • Heo, K.N. (Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University) ;
  • Odle, J. (Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University) ;
  • Han, In K. (Department of Animal Science and Technology, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2000.05.18
  • Accepted : 2000.08.18
  • Published : 2000.11.01

Abstract

Growing pigs (N=25; 18 kg) were used to study effects of L-carnitine and protein intake on plasma carnitine, energy and carnitine balance, and carnitine biosynthesis. Corn-soybean meal basal diets containing low or high protein (13.6% or 18%) were formulated so that protein accretion would be limited by metabolizable energy (ME). Each basal diet was supplemented with 0 or 500 mg/kg L-carnitine and limit fed to pigs for 10 d in a balance trial. Final carnitine concentration was compared with weight/age matched pigs measured on d 0 to calculate carnitine retention rates. Supplementation of carnitine increased (p<0.01) plasma free carnitine (by 250%), short-chain (by 160%) and long-chain acyl-carnitine concentrations (by 80%) irrespective of blood sampling time (p<0.01). The proportion of long-chain carnitine esters decreased by 40% (p<0.01) by carnitine supplementation; whereas, the proportion of short-chain acyl-carnitine concentration was not changed (p>0.10). All criteria of energy balance were unaffected by L-carnitine (p>0.10). Total body carnitine retention was increased by 450% over unsupplemented controls (p<0.01). Carnitine biosynthesis rates in pigs fed diets without L-carnitine were estimated at 6.71 and $10.63{\mu}mol{\cdot}kg^{-1}{\cdot}d^{-1}$ in low protein and high protein groups, respectively. In supplemented pigs, L-carnitine absorption and degradation in the intestinal tract was estimated at 30-40% and 60-70% of L-carnitine intake, respectively. High protein feeding effect did not affected plasma carnitine concentrations, carnitine biosynthesis or carnitine retention (p>0.10). We conclude that endogenous carnitine biosynthesis may be adequate to maintain sufficient tissue levels during growth, but that supplemental dietary carnitine (at 500 ppm) sufficiently increased plasma acyl-carnitine and total body carnitine.

Keywords

Pigs;Plasma Carnitine;Energy Balance;Carnitine Balance;Carnitine Biosynthesis

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