Tissue carnitine fluxes in vitamin C depleted-repleted guinea pigs

Carol Johnston, Corinne Corte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The biosynthesis of carnitine requires vitamin C as a cofactor for two separate hydroxylation steps. The majority of body carnitine (approximately 98%) is located in muscle and less than 0.5% is present in plasma. We examined the physiologic dynamics of plasma free carnitine and muscle total acid-soluble carnitine in vitamin C-depleted guinea pigs repleted with increasing amounts of vitamin C. Animals were fed a vitamin C-deficient diet for 3 weeks at which time symptoms of scurvy were evident. Animals were repleted with increasing doses of vitamin C, from 0.5 to 10.0 mg vitamin C/100 g body weight daily. Muscle total acid-soluble carnitine concentrations tended to correlate directly with plasma vitamin C (r = 0.41, P = 0.087) during the repletion phase of the study. Conversely, plasma free carnitine was inversely related to liver vitamin C (r = -0.54, P = 0.020) and to muscle total acid-soluble carnitine (r = -0.56, P = 0.015). Mean plasma free carnitine values fell 30% over the course of vitamin C repletion (P > 0.05) and mean muscle total acid-soluble carnitine rose by 30% (P > 0.05). These data suggest that elevated plasma free carnitine may indicate a low to marginal vitamin C status. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-699
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Guinea pigs
  • Muscle carnitine
  • Plasma carnitine
  • Vitamin C deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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