Abstract Background: l-Carnitine is the essential endogenous factor for the transport of long-chain fatty acids from the cytoplasm to within the mitochondrion where the β-oxidation process takes place. l-Carnitine is a superoxide scavenger and an antioxidant that possesses an anti-ischemic action and a stabilizing effect on cell membranes. It may be of help in liver ischemia reperfusion injury. Results regarding the effects of l-carnitine on liver ischemia and reperfusion injury are few and conflicting. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of exogenous l-carnitine on lipid peroxidation and protecting liver at different stages of experimental total warm hepatic ischemia-reperfusion (TWHIR) procedure in rats. Methods: This experimental study in healthy, weanling, male Wistar rats (weighing 180–200 g) was conducted at the Experimental Animal Research Laboratory of the Faculty of Medicine of Mersin University, Mersin, Turkey. Rats were randomly divided into 5 groups: (A) Control group; (B) TWHIR procedure only; (C) l-carnitine administered 2 hours before the TWHIR procedure; (D) l-carnitine administered just before the TWHIR procedure; and (E) l-carnitine administered after total warm hepatic ischemia but just before the reperfusion procedure. Total warm hepatic ischemia (via the Pringle maneuver) and reperfusion were performed for 45 and 30 minutes, respectively. l-Carnitine (200 mg/kg) was administered intravenously. At the end of each procedure a blood sample was drawn and total hepatectomy was performed following reperfusion. Malondialdehyde (MDA) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) levels of both plasma and liver tissue, total antioxidant capacity (TAOC), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in plasma, and histopathologic examination were analyzed to assess lipid peroxidation and damage in liver tissue. Results: Thirty-four rats (mean [SD]age, 59.26 [1.2]days; mean [SD] weight, 194.1 [5.1] g) were used in the study. There was a significant difference observed between groups A (n = 5) and B (n = 5) for all evaluation parameters. The TWHIR procedure performed in group B was associated with significant increases versus baseline in ALT, AST, MDA, and MPO in plasma, and MDA and MPO in liver tissue, but a significant decrease of TAOC in plasma. ALT, AST, serum and liver MDA, and MPO levels of group B were significantly higher than all groups administered l-carnitine. l-Carnitine administration between total warm hepatic ischemia and reperfusion was associated with a significant attenuation in all parameters. The liver MDA levels of groups C (n = 8) and D (n = 8) were significantly lower than that of group E (n = 8) (mean [SD]: C, 16.53 [3.32] and D, 18.28 [1.67] vs E, 23.05 [3.52]; P = 0.001 and P = 0.016, respectively). The mean (SD) liver MPO level of group C (1.09 [0.16]) was significantly lower than that of groups D (2.12 [0.25]) and E (2.11 [0.28]) (both, P = 0.001). The TAOC of group B (0.77 [0.12]) was significantly lower than that of groups C (1.34 [0.19]) and D (1.08 [0.20]) ( P = 0.001 and P = 0.015, respectively). The TAOC of group C was significantly higher than that of the other l-carnitine groups (E, 0.94 [0.13]) ( P = 0.023 vs group D; and P = 0.001 vs group E). Histopathologic scores of groups A, C, and E were significantly lower than that of group B, but the difference between groups B and D was not statistically significant. Conclusions: In this experimental study, administration of exogenous l-carnitine was associated with significantly decreased lipid peroxidation in plasma and liver tissue when administered prior to a TWHIR procedure. In addition, l-carnitine seemed to be more effective with regard to decreasing lipid peroxidation in liver tissue when administered before warm hepatic ischemia. l-Carnitine was associated with significantly decreased leukocyte sequestration in plasma and liver tissue. A significant increase in TAOC was associated with l-carnitine administered prior to ischemia. These observations suggest that l-carnitine might have a protective effect against ischemia-reperfusion injury in rat liver tissue.