Mutations in the gene that encodes the principal L-Carnitine transporter, OCTN2, can lead to a reduced intracellular L-Carnitine pool and the disease Primary Carnitine Deficiency. L-Carnitine supplementation is used therapeutically to increase intracellular L-Carnitine. As AMPK and insulin regulate fat metabolism and substrate uptake we hypothesised that AMPK activating compounds and insulin would increase L-Carnitine uptake in C2C12 myotubes. The cells express all three OCTN transporters at the mRNA level and immunohistochemistry confirmed expression at the protein level. Contrary to our hypothesis, despite significant activation of PKB and 2DG uptake, insulin did not increase L-Carnitine uptake at 100nM. However, L-Carnitine uptake was modestly increased at a dose of 150nM insulin. A range of AMPK activators that increase intracellular calcium content [caffeine (10mM, 5mM, 1mM, 0.5mM), A23187 (10μM)], inhibit mitochondrial function [Sodium Azide (75μM), Rotenone (1μM), Berberine (100μM), DNP (500μM)] or directly activate AMPK [AICAR (250μM)] were assessed for their ability to regulate L-Carnitine uptake. All compounds tested significantly inhibited L-Carnitine uptake. Inhibition by caffeine was not dantrolene (10μM) sensitive. Saturation curve analysis suggested that caffeine did not competitively inhibit L-Carnitine transport. However, the AMPK inhibitor Compound C (10μM) partially rescued the effect of caffeine suggesting that AMPK may play a role in the inhibitory effects of caffeine. However, caffeine likely inhibits L-Carnitine uptake by alternative mechanisms independently of calcium release. PKA activation or direct interference with transporter function may play a role.
- Copyright © 2017, American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology