Mechanistic contribution of carnitine deficiency to geriatric frailty

Ageing Res Rev. 2010 Jul;9(3):265-8. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2010.02.005. Epub 2010 Mar 17.


Frailty is a geriatric syndrome characterized by muscle weakness, sarcopenia, and fatigue, and is associated with several adverse health outcomes, including disability. Design of therapeutic interventions for geriatric frailty has been challenging and may be because of inadequate understanding of its biological underpinnings. Carnitine is important for energy production in skeletal muscles and there seems to be a negative correlation between advancing age and muscle carnitine levels. Carnitine deficiency may therefore contribute to geriatric frailty. Age-associated carnitine deficiency from a variety of etiologies, including organic cation transporter (OCTN2) mutation and carnitine palmitoyltransferase II (CPT) deficiency, may potentially explain the relationship between carnitine-associated mitochondrial dysfunction and geriatric frailty. Development of therapeutic agents capable of prevention or reversal of carnitine deficiency in older adults may minimize the occurrence of frailty in geriatric populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Carnitine / deficiency*
  • Carnitine / metabolism
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Humans
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / etiology
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / physiopathology


  • Carnitine