Mitochondrial membrane damage during aging process in rat heart: potential efficacy of L-carnitine and DL alpha lipoic acid

Mech Ageing Dev. 2006 Apr;127(4):349-55. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2005.12.004. Epub 2006 Jan 20.


Mitochondria are the main intracellular source of oxidizing free radicals and these oxidants produced exhibit selectivity in damaging mitochondrial macromolecules and membrane functions. In the present study we have investigated the effect of co-supplementation of carnitine (300 mg/kg bw) and lipoic acid (100 mg/kg bw) for 28 days in young, middle aged and aged rats and evaluated the effect of these compounds on age-related alterations in mitochondrial membrane functions. The levels of H2O2 were increased in both middle aged and aged rats with a concomitant decrease in the levels of cardiolipin and mitochondrial membrane potential. The levels of membrane bound ATPases were also decreased in aged rats along with alterations in mitochondrial morphology. Supplementation of carnitine and lipoic acid to middle aged and aged rats brought these changes to near normalcy. Thus, lipoic acid acts with carnitine to improve mitochondrial-supported bioenergetics and also improves general antioxidant status, thereby effectively attenuating any putative increase in oxidative stress with age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Cardiolipins / chemistry
  • Carnitine / chemistry*
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / metabolism
  • Thioctic Acid / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiolipins
  • Thioctic Acid
  • Cytochromes c
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase
  • Carnitine