Determination of Carnitine Renal Threshold and Effect of Medium-Chain Triglycerides on Carnitine Profiles in Newborn Pigs

  • Heo, K.N. (Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University) ;
  • Odle, J. (Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University) ;
  • Lin, X. (Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University) ;
  • van Kempen, T.A.T.G. (Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University) ;
  • Han, In K. (Department of Animal Science and Technology, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2000.08.23
  • Accepted : 2000.10.10
  • Published : 2001.02.01


Colostrum deprived, newborn pigs (N=12, $1.64{\pm}0.05kg$) were used to study the renal threshold of carnitine, and effects of emulsified medium-chain triglyceride (MCT, tri-8:0) feeding on kinetics of plasma carnitine and urinary carnitine excretion. An arterial catheter was inserted through an umbilical artery, and a bladder catheter was inserted via the urachus. Piglets were oro-gastrically gavaged with one of six carnitine levels (0, 60, 120, 180, 240, $480{\mu}mol/kg\;W^{0.75}$) with (+MCT) or without medium-chain triglycerides (-MCT) in 0.9% NaCl solution. Blood was sampled into heparinized tubes at 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 14, and 20 h after gavage, and urine was collected and pooled into 1 h or 2 h composite samples to determine free- and short-chain carnitine concentrations. Plasma from the 12 newborn piglets before gavage contained $10.6{\pm}1.2{\mu}mol/L$ free carnitine and $7.2{\pm}0.6{\mu}mol/L$ acid-soluble acyl carnitine. The renal threshold for carnitine was similar between the MCT and the +MCT group (42.6 13.1 and $46.4{\pm}2.0{\mu}mol/L$, respectively), but the correlation between plasma free carnitine and urinary excretion was altered. Plasma free carnitine linearly increased with increasing carnitine dosage (-MCT group, $R^2=0.95$, p<0.001; +MCT group, $R^2=0.91$, p<0.001), but was decreased by 50% when medium-chain triglycerides were fed. The peak in plasma free carnitine concentration was depressed by medium-chain triglycerides feeding also. Therefore, the plasma and urinary short-chain/free carnitine ratio of the +MCT group was increased by 100% and 40%, respectively (p<0.01). Feeding of medium-chain triglycerides may delay plasma carnitine elevation via altering the kinetics of absorption. Similarly, the plasma and urinary short-chain/free carnitine ratio were affected by interaction between medium-chain triglycerides and time (p<0.01). The present study suggests that an oral carnitine dose over $480{\mu}mol/kg\;W^{0.75}$ may be needed to reach the free carnitine renal threshold within a short period, especially when provided together with medium-chain triglyceride.


Carnitine;Renal Threshold;Medium-Chain Triglycerides;Newborn Pigs;Acyl Intoxication

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