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Carnitine palmitoyltransferase II (CPT II) deficiency responsible for refractory cardiac arrhythmias, acute multiorgan failure and early fatal outcome

  • Authors: Serra, Gregorio; Antona, Vincenzo; Insinga, Vincenzo; Morgante, Giusy; Vassallo, Alessia; Placa, Simona La; Piro, Ettore; Salerno, Sergio; Schierz, Ingrid Anne Mandy; Gitto, Eloisa; Giuffre, Mario; Corsello, Giovanni
  • Publication year: 2024
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
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Background: Carnitine palmitoyltransferase II (CPT II) deficiency is a rare inborn error of mitochondrial fatty acid metabolism with autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. Its phenotype is highly variable (neonatal, infantile, and adult onset) on the base of mutations of the CPT II gene. In affected subjects, long-chain acylcarnitines cannot be subdivided into carnitine and acyl-CoA, leading to their toxic accumulation in different organs. Neonatal form is the most severe, and all the reported patients died within a few days to 6 months after birth. Hereby, we report on a male late-preterm newborn who presented refractory cardiac arrhythmias and acute multiorgan (hepatic, renal, muscular) injury, leading to cerebral hemorrhage, hydrocephalus, cardiovascular failure and early (day 5 of life) to death. Subsequently, extended metabolic screening and target next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis allowed the CPT II deficiency diagnosis. Case presentation: The male proband was born at 36+ 4 weeks of gestation by spontaneous vaginal delivery. Parents were healthy and nonconsanguineous, although both coming from Nigeria. Family history was unremarkable. Apgar score was 9/9. At birth, anthropometric measures were as follows: weight 2850 g (47th centile, -0.07 standard deviations, SD), length 50 cm (81st centile, + 0.89 SD) and occipitofrontal circumference (OFC) 35 cm (87th centile, + 1.14 SD). On day 2 of life our newborn showed bradycardia (heart rate around 80 bpm) and hypotonia, and was then transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). There, he subsequently manifested many episodes of ventricular tachycardia, which were treated with pharmacological (magnesium sulfate) and electrical cardioversion. Due to the critical conditions of the baby (hepatic, renal and cardiac dysfunctions) and to guarantee optimal management of the arrythmias, he was transferred to the Pediatric Cardiology Reference Center of our region (Sicily, Italy), where he died 2 days later. Thereafter, the carnitines profile evidenced by the extended metabolic screening resulted compatible with a fatty acid oxidation defect (increased levels of acylcarnitines C16 and C18, and low of C2); afterwards, the targeted next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis revealed the known c.680 C > T p. (Pro227Leu) homozygous missense mutation of the CPTII gene, for diagnosis of CPT II deficiency. Genetic investigations have been, then, extended to the baby's parents, who were identified as heterozygous carriers of the same variant. When we meet again the parents for genetic counseling, the mother was within the first trimester of her second pregnancy. Therefore, we offered to the couple and performed the prenatal target NGS analysis on chorionic villi sample, which did not detect any alterations, excluding thus the CPT II deficiency in their second child. Conclusions: CPTII deficiency may be suspected in newborns showing cardiac arrhythmias, associated or not with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidneys, brain malformations, hepatomegaly. Its diagnosis should be even more suspected and investigated in cases of increased plasmatic levels of creatine phosphokinase and acylcarnitines in addition to kidney, heart and liver dysfunctions, as occurred in the present patient. Accurate family history, extended metabolic screening, and multidisciplinary approach are necessary for diagnosis and adequate management of affected subjects. Next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques allow the identification of the CPTII gene mutation, essential to confirm the diagnosis before or after birth, as well as to calculate the recurrence risk for family members. Our report broads the knowledge of the genetic and molecular bases of such rare disease, improving its clinical characterization, and provides useful indications for the treatment of patients.