Metabolic characterization of a woman homozygous for the Ser113Leu missense mutation in carnitine palmitoyl transferase II

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 May;87(5):2139-43. doi: 10.1210/jcem.87.5.8380.


Carnitine palmitoyl transferase (CPT) II is a key enzyme in transporting FFA into the mitochondrial matrix for beta oxidation. The clinical manifestation of CPT II deficiency is characterized mainly by myopathic symptoms. Conceivably, the inability of skeletal muscle to oxidize (long-chain) FFAs could also have far-reaching metabolic consequences, such as insulin resistance secondary to increased muscle lipids, about which relatively little is known. We therefore performed a series of metabolic studies in a 43-yr-old woman homozygous for the Ser113Leu mutation in the CPT II gene, the single most common genetic cause of CPT II deficiency, and compared the results with data from a male and female control group taken from the Tübingen family study database. The metabolic studies included oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp to measure insulin sensitivity, indirect calorimetry to measure substrate oxidation, stable isotopes for determination of glycerol turnover, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy for measurement of intramyocellular lipids. Compared with the female control group, the patient was normal glucose tolerant but severely insulin resistant, basal lipolysis was markedly reduced, and carbohydrate oxidation was maximally increased in the basal state and did not increase further during insulin stimulation. Conversely, lipid oxidation was virtually absent and did not decrease during insulin stimulation. Surprisingly, intramyocellular lipids were well within the range of the control group. In conclusion, genetic CPT II deficiency is characterized by insulin resistance, which is not explained by increased intramyomellular lipids. However, it may be partially explained by glucose oxidation already maximally increased in the basal state, which cannot be increased any further by insulin. Reduced basal lipolysis may represent a compensatory mechanism for the reduced oxidative FFA disposal characteristic for this disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / genetics*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Homozygote*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipolysis
  • Male
  • Mutation, Missense / genetics*
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Reference Values


  • Insulin
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase