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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Apr;292(4):E1231-7. Epub 2006 Dec 19.

Overexpression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase I in skeletal muscle in vivo increases fatty acid oxidation and reduces triacylglycerol esterification.

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Diabetes and Obesity Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst.


A key regulatory point in the control of fatty acid (FA) oxidation is thought to be transport of FAs across the mitochondrial membrane by carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT I). To investigate the role of CPT I in FA metabolism, we used in vivo electrotransfer (IVE) to locally overexpress CPT I in muscle of rodents. A vector expressing the human muscle isoform of CPT I was electrotransferred into the right lateral muscles of the distal hindlimb [tibialis cranialis (TC) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL)] of rats, and a control vector expressing GFP was electrotransferred into the left muscles. Initial studies showed that CPT I protein expression peaked 7 days after IVE (+104%, P<0.01). This was associated with an increase in maximal CPT I activity (+30%, P < 0.001) and a similar increase in palmitoyl-CoA oxidation (+24%; P<0.001) in isolated mitochondria from the TC. Importantly, oxidation of the medium-chain FA octanoyl-CoA and CPT I sensitivity to inhibition by malonyl-CoA were not altered by CPT I overexpression. FA oxidation in isolated EDL muscle strips was increased with CPT I overexpression (+28%, P<0.01), whereas FA incorporation into the muscle triacylglycerol (TAG) pool was reduced (-17%, P<0.01). As a result, intramyocellular TAG content was decreased with CPT I overexpression in both the TC (-25%, P<0.05) and the EDL (-45%, P<0.05). These studies demonstrate that acute overexpression of CPT I in muscle leads to a repartitioning of FAs away from esterification and toward oxidation and highlight the importance of CPT I in regulating muscle FA metabolism.

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