Correlation Engine 2.0
Clear Search sequence regions

Acetyl-L-carnitine is a natural molecule widely distributed in vertebrate and invertebrate nervous system. It is known to have significant effects on neuronal activity playing a role as neuroprotective and anti-nociceptive agent, as well as neuromodulatory factor. About its capability of affecting learning processes the available data are controversial. In the present study, we utilized the simplified model system of the leech Hirudo medicinalis to analyze the effects of acetyl-L-carnitine, assessing whether and how it might affect elementary forms of nonassociative learning processes. In leeches with the head ganglion disconnected from the first segmental ganglion, repetitive application of weak electrical shocks onto the caudal portion of the body wall induces habituation of swim induction whereas brush strokes on the dorsal skin produces sensitization or dishabituation when the nociceptive stimulus is delivered on previously habituated animals. Herein, the effects of different concentrations of acetyl-L-carnitine (2 mM - 0.05 mM) have been tested at different times on both sensitization and dishabituation. The results show that a single treatment of acetyl-L-carnitine blocked the onset of sensitization in a dose- and time-dependent manner. In fact, the most effective concentration able to block this process was 2 mM, which induced its major effects 11 days after the treatment, whereas 0.05 mM was unable to affect the sensitization process at all considered time points. On the contrary, acetyl-L-carnitine did not completely abolish dishabituation at the tested concentrations and at every time point. Finally, acetyl-L-carnitine also impaired the habituation of swim induction, but only 11 days after treatment.


C Ristori, E Cataldo, M L Zaccardi, G Traina, M Calvani, P Lombardo, R Scuri, M Brunelli. Acetyl-L-carnitine affects nonassociative learning processes in the leech Hirudo medicinalis. Neuroscience. 2006 Nov 3;142(4):931-9

Expand section icon Mesh Tags

Expand section icon Substances

PMID: 16916587

View Full Text