Effect of L-carnitine on the hepatic transcript profile in piglets as animal model
Background: Carnitine has attracted scientific interest due to several health-related effects, like protection against neurodegeneration, mitochondrial decay, and oxidative stress as well as improvement of glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. The mechanisms underlying most of the health-related effects of carnitine are largely ... unknown.Methods: To gain insight into mechanisms through which carnitine exerts its beneficial metabolic effects, we fed piglets either a control or a carnitine supplemented diet, and analysed the transcriptome in the liver.Results: Transcript profiling revealed 563 genes to be differentially expressed in liver by carnitine supplementation. Clustering analysis of the identified genes revealed that most of the top-ranked annotation term clusters were dealing with metabolic processes. Representative genes of these clusters which were significantly up-regulated by carnitine were involved in cellular fatty acid uptake, fatty acid activation, fatty acid β-oxidation, glucose uptake, and glycolysis. In contrast, genes involved in gluconeogenesis were down-regulated by carnitine. Moreover, clustering analysis identified genes involved in the insulin signaling cascade to be significantly associated with carnitine supplementation. Furthermore, clustering analysis revealed that biological processes dealing with posttranscriptional RNA processing were significantly associated with carnitine supplementation.Conclusion: The data suggest that carnitine supplementation has beneficial effects on lipid and glucose homeostasis by inducing genes involved in fatty acid catabolism and glycolysis and repressing genes involved in gluconeogenesis.