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Mol Genet Metab. 2008 Mar;93(3):314-22. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Homozygous carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1b (muscle isoform) deficiency is lethal in the mouse.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.


Carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT-1) catalyzes the rate-limiting step of mitochondrial beta-oxidation of long chain fatty acids (LCFA), the most abundant fatty acids in mammalian membranes and in energy metabolism. Human deficiency of the muscle isoform CPT-1b is poorly understood. In the current study, embryos with a homozygous knockout of Cpt-1b were lost before embryonic day 9.5-11.5. Also, while there were normal percentages of CPT-1b+/- pups born from both male and female CPT-1b+/- mice crossed with wild-type mates, the number of CPT-1b+/- pups from CPT-1b+/- breeding pairs was under-represented (63% of the expected number). Northern blot analysis demonstrated approximately 50% Cpt-1b mRNA expression in brown adipose tissue (BAT), heart and skeletal muscles in the CPT-1b+/- male mice. Consistent with tissue-specific expression of Cpt-1b mRNA in muscle but not liver, CPT-1+/- mice had approximately 60% CPT-1 activity in skeletal muscle and no change in total liver CPT-1 activity. CPT-1b+/- mice had normal fasting blood glucose concentration. Consistent with expression of CPT-1b in BAT and muscle, approximately 7% CPT-1b+/- mice (n=30) developed fatal hypothermia following a 3h cold challenge, while none of the CPT-1b+/+ mice (n=30) did. With a prolonged cold challenge (6h), significantly more CPT-1b+/- mice developed fatal hypothermia (52% CPT-1b+/- mice vs. 21% CPT-1b+/+ mice), with increased frequency in females of both genotypes (67% female vs. 38% male CPT-1b+/- mice, and 33% female vs. 8% male CPT-1b+/+ mice). Therefore, lethality of homozygous CPT-1b deficiency in the mice is consistent with paucity of human cases.

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