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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tandem mass spectrometric assay for the determination of carnitine palmitoyltransferase II activity in muscle tissue.

Carnitine palmitoyltransferase II (CPT-II) mediates the import of long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix for subsequent beta-oxidation. Defects of CPT-II manifest as a severe neonatal hepatocardiomuscular form or as a mild muscular phenotype in early infancy or adolescence. CPT-II deficiency is diagnosed by the determination of enzyme activity in tissues involving the time-dependent conversion of radiolabeled CPT-II substrates (isotope-exchange assays) or the formation of chromogenic reaction products. We have established a mass spectrometric assay (MS/MS) for the determination of CPT-II activity based on the stoichiometric formation of acetylcarnitine in a coupled reaction system. In this single-tube reaction system palmitoylcarnitine is converted by CPT-II to free carnitine, which is subsequently esterified to acetylcarnitine by carnitine acetyltransferase. The formation of acetylcarnitine directly correlates with the CPT-II activity. Comparison of the MS/MS method (y) with our routine spectrophotometric assay (x) revealed a linear regression of y = 0.58x + 0.12 (r = 0.8369). Both assays allow one to unambiguously detect patients with the muscular form of CPT-II deficiency. However, the higher specificity and sensitivity as well as the avoidance of the drawbacks inherent in the use of radiolabeled substrates make this mass spectrometric method most suitable for the determination of CPT-II activity.[1]


  1. Tandem mass spectrometric assay for the determination of carnitine palmitoyltransferase II activity in muscle tissue. Rettinger, A., Gempel, K., Hofmann, S., Gerbitz, K.D., Bauer, M.F. Anal. Biochem. (2002) [Pubmed]
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