Effects of Acetyl-L-carnitine on neural transmission (Lombardo et al 2004)

Acetyl-L-carnitine is known to improve many aspects of the neural activity even if its exact role in neurotransmission is still unknown. This study investigates the effects of acetyl-L-carnitine in T segmental sensory neurons of the leech Hirudo medicinalis. These neurons are involved in some forms of neural plasticity associated with learning processes. Their physiological firing is accompanied by a large afterhyperpolarization that is mainly due to the Na+/K+ ATPase activity and partially to a Ca2+-dependent K+ current. A clear-cut hyperpolarization and a significant increase of the afterhyperpolarization have been recorded in T neurons of leeches injected with 2 mM acetyl-L-carnitine some days before. Acute treatments of 50 mM acetyl-L-carnitine induced similar effects in T cells of naive animals. Moreover, in these cells, widely arborized, the afterhyperpolarization seems to play an important role in determining the action potential transmission at neuritic bifurcations. A computational model of a T cell has been previously developed considering detailed data for geometry and the modulation of the pump current. Herein, we showed that to a larger afterhyperpolarization, due to the acetyl-L-carnitine-induced effects, corresponds a decrement in the number of action potentials reaching synaptic terminals.

Model Type: Neuron or other electrically excitable cell; Electrogenic pump

Cell Type(s): Leech T segmental sensory neuron

Currents: I L high threshold; I K,Ca; I Sodium; I Potassium; Na/K pump

Model Concept(s): Activity Patterns; Axonal Action Potentials; Action Potentials; Invertebrate; Sodium pump

Simulation Environment: SNNAP


Lombardo P et al. (2004). Acetyl-L-carnitine induces a sustained potentiation of the afterhyperpolarization. Neuroscience. 128 [PubMed]

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