Carnitine was discovered in 1905, and its structure was established in 1927. It is a relatively simple molecule that is synthesized from lysine, with terminal methyl groups donated by S-adenosylmethionine. From studies in lower species it is thought that the immediate precursor γ-butyrobetaine can be formed in many tissues (e.g., kidney, muscle, and heart), but that hydroxylation to carnitine occurs to an important extent only in liver, as shown below: Carnitine synthesized in the hepatocyte is released into plasma for transfer to peripheral tissues, where it is taken up against a concentration gradient by means of a transport system that. . .
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