Plasma L-Carnitine and L-Lysine Concentrations in HIV-Infected Patients

Evgeny V. Butorov, * Open Modal Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Biochemistry Journal 28 December 2017 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874091X01711010119



Virus infections are associated with significant alterations in host cells amino acids profiles that support biosynthetic demands necessary for production of viral progeny. Amino acids play an important role in the pathogenesis of all virus-related infections both as basic substrates for protein synthesis and as regulators in many metabolic pathways.


Our aim was to determine the changes in plasma L-carnitine levels and its amino acid precursor (L-lysine) in HIV-infected patients.


We performed a case-control study of 430 HIV-1 infected males (non-vegetarians) without any restriction in the nourishment, before highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and 125 HIV-1 subjects after the introduction of HAART who were periodically monitored in the Municipal Center of HIV/AIDS prophylaxis, Surgut, Russian Federation


The plasma total (TC) and free (FC) L-carnitine concentrations markedly decreased with the clinical stages of HIV infection. The mean plasma TC, FC and L-lysine levels were significantly lower in asymptomatic stage (A) and advanced CDC stages (B, C) HIV-infected patients compared with our reference values. The total and free L-carnitine and its amino acid precursor concentrations mild increased in HIV-infected subjects after the introduction of HAART.

Our data revealed that L-lysine amino acid and its derivative (TC) levels were negatively correlated with viral load and inversely with CD4 count lymphocytes in the total cohort.


The study results show that there was evidence for an association between plasma L-carnitine, L-lysine and HIV-1 RNA levels, immunological markers and clinical stages of HIV infection. The obtained data indicate that level changes of these host essential nutritional elements can play an important role in the HIV life cycle. These findings are important for understanding the pathophysiology of HIV infection and must be considered in further research for the development of new approaches in the treatment of the disease.

Keywords: HIV, L-carnitine, L-lysine, Viral load, Viral progeny, CD4 count lymphocytes.
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