Several reports indicate that systemic carnitine deficiency could occur in acquired immunodeficiency disease syndrome (AIDS), and that primary and secondary carnitine deficiency leads to critical metabolic dysfunctions. L-carnitine supplementation to peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of AIDS patients resulted in significant enhancement of the phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-driven proliferative response. High dose L-carnitine administration (6 gr per day for two weeks) to AIDS patients treated with zidovudine also led to increased PBMCs proliferation and reduced blood levels of triglycerides. In addition, a reduction of beta 2-microglobulin serum levels as well as circulating tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, mostly in patients exhibiting highly elevated levels, were found at the end of the treatment period. Our data suggest that in vivo L-carnitine could prove useful in ameliorating both the immune response and lipid metabolism in patients with AIDS, irrespective of initial serum carnitines levels. The mechanism(s) accounting for the observed results are currently not clear. Further studies are needed to confirm the hypothesis that L-carnitine affects the expression of HIV-induced cytokine.