Acetyl-L-carnitine enhances acetylcholine release in the striatum and hippocampus of awake freely moving rats

Neurosci Lett. 1989 Dec 15;107(1-3):251-5. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(89)90826-4.


The effect of acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) on the spontaneous release of acetylcholine (ACh) in the striatum and hippocampus of freely moving rats was investigated using brain microdialysis coupled with HPLC-electrochemical detection. Systemic administration of ALC, in a dose-dependent manner, stimulated ACh release in both areas, while the D-enantiomer was substantially ineffective. The effect of ALC was strongly Ca2+ dependent and tetrodotoxin (TTX) sensitive. These features of an exocytotic and impulse flow-dependent mechanism suggest that the increase in ACh release is the result of ALC activation of a physiological mechanism in cholinergic neurons.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcarnitine / pharmacology*
  • Acetylcholine / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Carnitine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cholinergic Fibers / drug effects
  • Cholinergic Fibers / metabolism*
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology


  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Acetylcarnitine
  • Acetylcholine
  • Carnitine
  • Calcium