Scientific reports

CPT1C promotes human mesenchymal stem cells survival under glucose deprivation through the modulation of autophagy.

PMID 29725060


Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are widely used in regenerative medicine. In some applications, they must survive under low nutrient conditions engendered by avascularity. Strategies to improve hMSCs survival may be of high relevance in tissue engineering. Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 C (CPT1C) is a pseudoenzyme exclusively expressed in neurons and cancer cells. In the present study, we show that CPT1C is also expressed in hMSCs and protects them against glucose starvation, glycolysis inhibition, and oxygen/glucose deprivation. CPT1C overexpression in hMSCs did not increase fatty acid oxidation capacity, indicating that the role of CPT1C in these cells is different from that described in tumor cells. The increased survival of CPT1C-overexpressing hMSCs observed during glucose deficiency was found to be the result of autophagy enhancement, leading to a greater number of lipid droplets and increased intracellular ATP levels. In fact, inhibition of autophagy or lipolysis was observed to completely block the protective effects of CPT1C. Our results indicate that CPT1C-mediated autophagy enhancement in glucose deprivation conditions allows a greater availability of lipids to be used as fuel substrate for ATP generation, revealing a new role of CPT1C in stem cell adaptation to low nutrient environments.

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