Acetyl-l-carnitine: Behavioral, electrophysiological, and neurochemical effects

S. Davis, A. L. Markowska, G. L. Wenk, C. A. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


-Aged rats were chronically administered acetyl-l-carnitine (AC) for 10 months. During this period they were tested on learning and sensorimotor tasks and were then subsequently tested electrophysiologically to assess induction and decay rates of long-term synaptic enhancement (LTE) in the hippocampus. Four groups were tested: young controls (4 mo-con), middle-aged controls (16 mo-con), old controls (24 mo-con), and old AC-treated rats (24 mo-AC). After completion of electrophysiological testing, each rat was sacrificed and investigated for age- or drug-related changes in three neurotransmitter markers; including, NMDA-sensitive glutamate receptors, high affinity choline uptake, and adenosine receptor number in the neocortex, hippocampus or caudate nucleus. Aging impaired spatial learning and there was a robust positive correlation between NMDA receptors in the hippocampus and acquisition of the spatial learning task. Induction of hippocampal LTE was reduced in 24 mo-AC rats and NMDA receptor number and high-affinity choline uptake in the frontal cortex was increased. Several suggestions are offered to explain the action of AC on these neurobiological parameters in old rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993


  • Acetyl-l-carnitine
  • Age-effect
  • LTE
  • NMDA receptors
  • Spatial learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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