Although palmitoleic acid (C16:1) is associated with arrhythmias, and increases in an age-dependent matter, the effects of L-carnitine, which is essential for the transport of long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, are unclear. It has been postulated that L-carnitine may attenuate palmitate (C16:0)-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and the apoptosis of cardiomyocytes. The aim of this study was to elucidate the activity of L-carnitine in the prevention of the palmitoleic acid-induced mitochondrial membrane permeability transition and cytochrome c release using isolated cardiac mitochondria from rats. Palmitoleoyl-CoA-induced mitochondrial respiration was not accelerated by L-carnitine treatment, and this respiration was slightly inhibited by oligomycin, which is an inhibitor of ATP synthase. Despite pretreatment with L-carnitine, the mitochondrial membrane potential decreased and mitochondrial swelling was induced by palmitoleoyl-CoA. In the presence of a combination of L-carnitine and tiron, a free radical scavenger, there was attenuated mitochondrial swelling and cytochrome c release following palmitoleoyl-CoA treatment. We concluded that palmitoleic acid, but not palmitate, induces the cardiac mitochondrial membrane permeability transition despite the presence of L-carnitine.
Keywords: Cytochrome c; Membrane potential; Palmitoleoyl-CoA; Palmitoyl-CoA; Swelling; Tiron.
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