The relationship between the acid-soluble carnitine and coenzyme A pools was studied in fed and 24-h-starved rats after carnitine administration. Carnitine given by intravenous injection at a dose of 60μmol/100g body wt. was integrated into the animal's endogenous carnitine pool. Large amounts of acylcarnitines appeared in the plasma and liver within 5min of carnitine injection. Differences in acid-soluble acylcarnitine concentrations were observed between fed and starved rats after injection and reflected the acylcarnitine/carnitine relationship seen in the endogenous carnitine pool of the two metabolic states. Thus, a larger acylcarnitine production was seen in starved animals and indicated a greater source of accessible acyl-CoA molecules. In addition to changes in the amount of acylcarnitines present, the specific acyl groups present also varied between groups of animals. Acetylcarnitine made up 37 and 53% of liver acid-soluble acylcarnitines in uninjected fed and starved animals respectively. At 5min after carnitine injection hepatic acid-soluble acylcarnitines were 41 and 73% in the form of acetylcarnitine in fed and starved rats respectively. Despite these large changes in carnitine and acylcarnitines, no changes were observed in plasma non-esterified fatty acid or β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in either fed or starved rats. Additionally, measurement of acetyl-CoA, coenzyme A, total acid-soluble CoA and acid-insoluble CoA demonstrated that the hepatic CoA pool was resistant to carnitine-induced changes. This lack of change in the hepatic CoA pool or ketone-body production while acyl groups are shunted from acyl-CoA molecules to acylcarnitines suggests a low flux through the carnitine pool compared with the CoA pool. These results support the concept that the carnitine/acid-soluble acylcarnitine pool reflects changes in, rather than inducing changes in, the hepatic CoA/acyl-CoA pool.

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