Mildronate, the inhibitor of l-carnitine transport, induces brain mitochondrial uncoupling and protects against anoxia-reoxygenation

Marina Makrecka (Coresponding Author), Baiba Svalbe, Kristine Volska, Eduards Sevostjanovs, Janis Liepins, Solveiga Grinberga, Osvalds Pugovics, Edgars Liepinsh, Maija Dambrova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The preservation of mitochondrial function is essential for normal brain function after ischaemia-reperfusion injury. l-carnitine is a cofactor involved in the regulation of cellular energy metabolism. Recently, it has been shown that mildronate, an inhibitor of l-carnitine transport, improves neurological outcome after ischaemic damage of brain tissues. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the mitochondria targeted neuroprotective action of mildronate in the model of anoxia-reoxygenation-induced injury. Wistar rats were treated daily with mildronate (per os; 100 mg/kg) for 14 days. The acyl-carnitine profile was determined in the brain tissues. Mitochondrial respiration and the activities of carnitine acetyltransferase (CrAT) and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzymes were measured. To assess tolerance to ischaemia, isolated mitochondria were subjected to anoxia followed by reoxygenation. The mildronate treatment significantly reduced the concentrations of free l-carnitine (FC) and short-chain acyl-carnitine (AC) in brain tissue by 40-76%, without affecting the AC:FC ratio. The activities of CrAT and TCA cycle enzymes were slightly increased after mildronate treatment. Despite partially induced uncoupling, mildronate treatment did not affect mitochondrial bioenergetics function under normoxic conditions. After exposure to anoxia-reoxygenation, state 3 respiration and the respiration control ratio were higher in the mildronate-treated group. The results obtained demonstrate that mildronate treatment improves tolerance against anoxia-reoxygenation due to an uncoupling preconditioning-like effect. Regulating l-carnitine availability provides a potential novel target for the treatment of cerebral ischaemia and related complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2014


  • Anoxia-reoxygenation
  • L-carnitine
  • Mildronate
  • Mitochondria
  • Uncoupling preconditioning

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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