Schulz JG, Laranjeira A, Van Huffel L, Gärtner A, Vilain S, Bastianen J, Van Veldhoven PP, Dotti CG.
The brain's impotence to utilize long-chain fatty acids as fuel, one of the dogmas in neuroscience, is surprising, since the nervous system is the tissue most energy consuming and most vulnerable to a lack of energy. Challenging this view, we here show in vivo that loss of the Drosophila carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2), an enzyme required for mitochondrial β-oxidation of long-chain fatty acids as substrates for energy production, results in the accumulation of triacylglyceride-filled lipid droplets in adult Drosophila brain but not in obesity. CPT2 rescue in glial cells alone is sufficient to restore triacylglyceride homeostasis, and we suggest that this is mediated by the release of ketone bodies from the rescued glial cells. These results demonstrate that the adult brain is able to catabolize fatty acids for cellular energy production.