Serum carnitine & disabling fatigue in multiple sclerosis

The serum concentrations of total, free and acylcarnitine were

compared in 25 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and among

age- and sex-matched normal controls by the new enzymatic

cycling method in order to clarify whether the fatigue in MS

might be due to possible carnitine-related fatty acid

metabolic abnormalities in the mitochondria of skeletal

muscles. Patients with MS were divided into those with and

those without excessive fatigue. Levels of total and free

carnitine were not significantly different between MS

patients and normal controls. Levels of acylcarnitine, whose

decrease in chronic fatigue syndrome has been reported, were

also similar between MS patients and normal controls. There

was no difference in these carnitine levels between MS

patients with and without excessive fatigue. We argue that

acylcarnitine deficiency and fatty acid metabolic dysfunction

in mitochondria are not relevant to the excessive fatigue in

patients with MS, and further explanatory investigations are

to be sought.

Fukazawa T, Sasaki H, Kikuchi S, Hamada T, Tashiro K

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