Journal Article

Effect of intraperitoneal acetyl-<span class="smallCaps">l</span>-carnitine (ALCAR) on anxiety-like behaviours in rats

Joseph Levine, Zeev Kaplan, Jay W. Pettegrew, Richard J. McClure, Samuel Gershon, Igor Buriakovsky and Hagit Cohen

in International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

Published on behalf of International College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Volume 8, issue 1, pages 65-74
Published in print March 2005 | ISSN: 1461-1457
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1469-5111 | DOI:
Effect of intraperitoneal acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR) on anxiety-like behaviours in rats

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Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR) is an acetyl derivative of carnitine, an endogenous molecule synthesized in vivo and supplemented by diet (mainly via meat and dairy products). Several parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have demonstrated that ALCAR treatment produces beneficial effects in geriatric depression. Since most antidepressants also have anti-anxiety effects we examined whether ALCAR shows anti-anxiety effects in a rat model of anxiety. Compared to a saline-injected control group, chronic administration of ALCAR at doses of 10 and 100 mg/kg (tested 24 h after the last dose administration) showed no effects, whereas doses of 50 and 75 mg/kg significantly reduced anxiety-like behaviours in the elevated plus-maze. Acute ALCAR (100 mg/kg), on the other hand (tested 6 h after administration), demonstrated anxiogenic effects. Our data suggest that chronic ALCAR administration may produce an inverted U-shaped curve of dose-dependent changes in anxiety-like behaviour. The precise mechanism by which ALCAR decreases anxiety-like behaviour after peripheral administration remains to be determined.

Keywords: Acetyl carnitine; animal; anxiety disorders; models

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