Age-associated deficit of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in skeletal muscle: role of carnitine and lipoic acid

Mol Cell Biochem. 2005 Dec;280(1-2):83-9. doi: 10.1007/s11010-005-8234-z.


Mitochondrial damage has implicated a major contributor for ageing process. In the present study, we measured mitochondrial membrane swelling, mitochondrial respiration (state 3 and 4) by using oxygen electrode in skeletal muscle of young (3-4 months old) and aged rats (above 24 months old) with supplementation of L: -carnitine and DL: -alpha-lipoic acid. Our results shows that the mitochondrial membrane swelling and state 4 respiration were increased more in skeletal muscle mitochondria of aged rats than in young control rats, whereas the state 3 respiration, respiratory control ratio (RCR) and ADP:O ratio decreased more in aged rats than in young rats. After supplementation of carnitine and lipoic acid to aged rats for 30 days, the state 3 respiration and RCR were increased, whereas the state 4 and mitochondrial membrane swelling were decreased to near normal rats. From our results, we conclude that combined supplementation of carnitine and lipoic acids to aged rats increases the skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration, thereby increasing the level of ATP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Carnitine / pharmacology*
  • Cell Respiration / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Swelling / drug effects
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacology*


  • Thioctic Acid
  • Carnitine