Endogenous genetic risk factor for serious heatstroke: the thermolabile phenotype of carnitine palmitoyltransferase II variant

Acute Med Surg. 2018 Oct 1;6(1):25-29. doi: 10.1002/ams2.373. eCollection 2019 Jan.


Aim: In serious heatstroke, elevated body temperature (>40°C) is considered the main cause of illness. Mitochondrial carnitine palmitoyltransferase II (CPT II) plays an important role in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) generation from long-chain fatty acids, and its thermolabile phenotype of CPT2 polymorphisms leads to ATP production loss under high fever. Whether by heatstroke or influenza, high fever suppresses mitochondrial ATP production in patients with the thermolabile phenotype of CPT2 polymorphisms. We investigated the relation between CPT2 polymorphism and severity of heatstroke with a body temperature of over 40°C.

Methods: We analyzed blood chemistry test results, Japanese Association for Acute Medicine Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (JAAM DIC), Acute Physiologic and Chronic Health Evaluation II, and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) scores, and CPT2 polymorphisms in 24 consecutive patients with severe heatstroke at two university hospitals.

Results: Eleven patients carried thermolabile CPT II variants (rs2229291; c.1055T˃G [p.Phe352Cys]) (F352C), and the genotype frequency was greater in heatstroke patients than in healthy volunteers. There was no significant difference in body temperature or blood chemistry data at emergency room arrival between patients with and without the CPT II variants. However, hospital days were longer and initial antithrombin activity was significantly lower in the variant group, suggesting a possible link with early phase vascular endothelial cell dysfunction. The JAAM DIC diagnostic criteria and SOFA scores were also higher in the group. There were no differences in the serum albumin, serum creatine kinase, and fibrin degradation product levels, and platelet counts.

Conclusions: In addition to known risks (e.g., environmental temperature and old age), the CPT II polymorphism [F352C] can be a predisposing genetic risk factor for serious heatstroke with organ disfunction, and lower antithrombin activity.

Keywords: Carnitine palmitoyltransferase II; coagulopathy; energy metabolism; heatstroke; polymorphism.