L-Carnitine is a modulator of the glucocorticoid receptor alpha

Salvatore Alesci, Massimo U. De Martino, Tomoshige Kino, Ioannis Ilias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


L-Carnitine (LC) is a nutrient with an essential role in cellular energy production. At high doses, LC can mimic some of the biological activities of glucocorticoids, particularly immunomodulation. To explore the molecular bases of this property, we tested the influence of LC on glucocorticoid receptor-α (GRα) functions. LC reduced the binding capacity of GRα, induced its nuclear translocation, and stimulated its transcriptional activity. Moreover, LC suppressed TNFα and IL-12 release from human monocytes in glucocorticoid-like fashion. We conclude that pharmacologic doses of LC can activate GRα and, via this mechanism, regulate glucocorticoid-responsive genes, potentially sharing some of the biological and therapeutic properties of glucocorticoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004



  • Cytokines
  • Glucocorticoid receptor alpha
  • Immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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