Post-treatment with the combination of 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxyamide ribonucleoside and carnitine improves renal function after ischemia/reperfusion injury

Shock. 2012 Jan;37(1):39-46. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0b013e31823185d7.


Renal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is a major clinical problem where main metabolic pathways are compromised and cellular homeostasis crashes after ATP depletion. Fatty acids are major energy source in the kidneys. Carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT1), a mitochondrial membrane enzyme, utilizes carnitine to transport fatty acids to mitochondria for the process of β-oxidation and ATP generation. In addition, CPT1 activity is indirectly regulated by adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, which can be activated by 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxyamide ribonucleoside (AICAR). We hypothesized that administration of carnitine and AICAR could reestablish the energetic balance after reperfusion and ameliorate renal I/R injury. Male adult rats were subjected to renal I/R by bilateral renal pedicle clamping for 60 min, followed by administration of saline (vehicle), carnitine (250 mg/kg BW), AICAR (30 mg/kg BW), or combination of both drugs. Blood and renal tissues were collected 24 h after reperfusion for various measurements. Renal carnitine levels decreased 53% after I/R. The combined treatment significantly increased CPT1 activity and ATP levels and lowered renal malondialdehyde and serum TNF-α levels against the vehicle group. It led to improvement in renal morphology and histological damage score associated with diminution in serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and aspartate aminotransferase levels. Moreover, the combined treatment significantly improved the survival rate in comparison to the vehicle group. In contrast, administration of either drug alone did not show a significant improvement in most of the measurements. In conclusion, enhancing energy metabolism by combination of carnitine and AICAR provides a novel modality to treat renal I/R injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Aminoimidazole Carboxamide / analogs & derivatives*
  • Aminoimidazole Carboxamide / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Carnitine / pharmacokinetics
  • Carnitine / pharmacology*
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / metabolism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Kidney / blood supply
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects*
  • Reperfusion Injury / blood
  • Reperfusion Injury / drug therapy*
  • Ribonucleosides / pharmacology*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Ribonucleosides
  • Aminoimidazole Carboxamide
  • acadesine
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase
  • Carnitine