Effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on ethanol consumption and alcohol abstinence syndrome in rats.


Mangano NG, Clementi G, Costantino G, Calvani M, Matera M.




Drugs Exp Clin Res


The effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on alcohol consumption and its possible ability to alleviate all symptomatology of ethanol withdrawal syndrome has been investigated in rats. Alcohol-dependence was induced in animals (9-15 g/kg ethanol solution at 20% for a period of 4 days) in order to measure the effects of acetyl-L-carnitine on ethanol abstinence syndrome. The ethanol dependence phase was characterized by the onset of signs and responses of progressive severity: hyperactivity, tremors, spastic rigidity and spontaneous convulsive seizures. After 4 days, 8 h after the last ethanol administration, two groups of animals received acetyl-L-carnitine (125 mg/kg and 250 mg/kg intraperitoneally, respectively) and the intensity of the withdrawal syndrome was assessed on the basis of the appearance of tremors. The effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on voluntary alcohol consumption was investigated in a rat line selected for innate ethanol preference. For 15 days the animals could freely choose both water and/or a hydroalcoholic solution (10% p:v). Acetyl-L-carnitine was given intraperitoneally at a dose of 200 mg/kg twice daily. The water and the hydroalcoholic solution levels were checked at the same time daily. Acetyl-L-carnitine treatment significantly reduced the onset of tremors in ethanol withdrawal syndrome as well as the level of ethanol intake in alcohol-preferring rats. These results suggest a possible pharmacological role of acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of alcohol dependence.