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J Neurochem. 2011 Aug;118(3):388-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07312.x. Epub 2011 Jun 17.

Carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1c gain-of-function in the brain results in postnatal microencephaly.

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Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research, Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1c (CPT1c) is a newly identified and poorly understood brain-specific CPT1 homologue. Here, we have generated a new animal model that allows the conditional expression of CPT1c in a tissue specific and/or temporal manner via Cre-lox mediated recombination. Brain-specific, exogenous expression of CPT1c was achieved by crossing transgenic CPT1c mice to Nestin-Cre mice. The resulting double transgenic mice (CPT1c-TgN) displayed severe growth retardation in the postnatal period with a stunted development at 2 weeks of age. CPT1c-TgN mice had a greater than 2.3-fold reduction in brain weight. Even with this degree of microencephaly, CPT1c-TgN mice were viable and fertile and exhibited normal post-weaning growth. When fed a high fat diet CPT1c-TgN mice were protected from weight gain and the difference in body weight between CPT1c-TgN and control mice was further exaggerated. Conversely, low fat, high carbohydrate feeding partially reversed the body weight defects in CPT1c-TgN mice. Analysis of total brain lipids of low fat fed mice revealed a depletion of total very long chain fatty acids in adult CPT1c-TgN mice which was not evident in high fat fed CPT1c-TgN mice. These data show that CPT1c can elicit profound effects on brain physiology and total fatty acid profiles, which can be modulated by the nutritional composition of the diet.

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