The intestinal barrier is one of the most dynamic surfaces of the body. It is here where a single layer of epithelial cells mediates the intricate encounters that occur between the host's immune system and a multitude of potential threats present in the intestinal lumen. Several key factors play an important role in the final outcome of this interaction, including the state of oxidative stress, the level of activation of the immune cells, and the integrity of the epithelial barrier. This chapter describes the main evidence demonstrating the impact that l-carnitine has on each of these factors. These findings, combined with the demonstrated safety profile of l-carnitine, underscore the potential therapeutic value of l-carnitine supplementation in humans suffering from intestinal inflammation and highlight the functional data supporting an association between Crohn's disease and mutations in the l-carnitine transporter genes.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.