ArticleVolume 2, Spring 2007

The Role of Neonatal Carnitine Palmitoyl Transferase Deficiency Type II on Proliferation of Neuronal Progenitor Cells and Layering of the Cerebral Cortex in the Developing Brain

Heepeel Chang1,

Phyllis Faust1

1 Columbia University

Abstract

Neonatal Carnitine Palmitoyl Transferase Deficiency Type II, characterized by the absence of CPT II enzyme, is one of the lethal disorders of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. CPT II regulates the conversion of long chain fatty acids, so that its product, acyl-CoA esters, can enter the Krebs cycle and generate energy. Neonatal mutations of CPT II lead to severe disruption of the metabolism of long-chain fatty acids and result in dysmorphic features, cystic renal dysplasia, and neuronal migration defects. Examination of the brain from an approximately 15-week gestation human fetus with CPT II deficiency revealed premature formation of cerebral cortical gyri and sulci and significantly lower levels of neuronal cell proliferation in the ventricular and subventricular zones as compared to the reference cases. We used immunohistochemical markers to further characterize the effect of CPT II deficiency on progenitor cell proliferation and layering of neurons. These studies demonstrated a premature generation of layer 5 cortical neurons. In addition, both the total number and percentage of progenitor cells proliferating in the ventricular zone were markedly reduced in the CPT II case in comparison to a reference case. Our results indicate that CPT II deficiency alters the normal program of cellular proliferation and differentiation in the cortex, with early differentiation of progenitor cells associated with premature cortical maturation.