There have been conflicting reports concerning the effect of carnitine supplementation on lipid metabolism in patients on peritoneal dialysis (PD). We investigated several parameters of lipid metabolism in pediatric PD patients supplemented with carnitine. The study included 20 patients receiving PD (treatment group) aged 2-18 years and a matched healthy control group. In the treatment group, baseline triglyceride, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B levels were higher than in the control group. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, free fatty acid, phospholipids, and apolipoprotein A-I levels were not different from those in the control group. The baseline plasma free carnitine level was lower and acyl-carnitine level was higher in the treatment group. No difference was found between the groups with respect to plasma total carnitine levels. Oral l-carnitine supplementation (50 mg/kg per day for 30 days) led to a significant decrease (from a baseline value of 146.6+/-51.8 mg/dl to 63.6+/-22.2 mg/dl, P<0.001) in apolipoprotein B levels, and no significant change in the other lipid parameters of the treatment group. Oral l-carnitine supplementation does not ameliorate the lipid profile in pediatric PD patients, but it causes a significant decrease in apolipoprotein B levels. Hence, carnitine supplementation may be recommended for decreasing apolipoprotein B levels in this patient population.