The distribution in human tissues of enzymes which convert epsilon-N-trimethyl-L-lysine to L-carnitine was studied. Existing methodology was modified and new procedures were developed to measure enzyme activities. Epsilon-N-Trimethyl-L-lysine was converted to gamma-butyrobetaine in three enzymatic steps (hydroxylation at carbon 3, aldol cleavage between carbons 2 and 3 to yield glycine and gamma-trimethylaminobutyraldehyde, and subsequent oxidation of the aldehyde) in all tissues studied (liver, brain, kidney, heart and skeletal muscle), but gamma-butyrobetaine was hydroxylated to form L-carnitine only in liver, kidney and brain. Gamma-Butyrobetaine hydroxylase (4-trimethylaminobutyrate, 2-oxoglutarate: oxygen oxidoreductase (3-hydroxylating), EC 22.214.171.124) activity in liver was dependent on the age of the subject. The activity rose from 12% in infants to 100% of the adult mean by age 15 years. No age dependence could be demonstrated for the other three enzymes studied.