Effects of fasting, feeding and exercise on plasma acylcarnitines among subjects with CPT2D, VLCADD and LCHADD/TFPD

Gabriela Elizondo, Dietrich Matern, Jerry Vockley, Cary O. Harding, Melanie B. Gillingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: The plasma acylcarnitine profile is frequently used as a biochemical assessment for follow-up in diagnosed patients with fatty acid oxidation disorders (FAODs). Disease specific acylcarnitine species are elevated during metabolic decompensation but there is clinical and biochemical heterogeneity among patients and limited data on the utility of an acylcarnitine profile for routine clinical monitoring. Methods: We evaluated plasma acylcarnitine profiles from 30 diagnosed patients with long-chain FAODs (carnitine palmitoyltransferase-2 (CPT2), very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD), and long-chain 3-hydroxy acyl-CoA dehydrogenase or mitochondrial trifunctional protein (LCHAD/TFP) deficiencies) collected after an overnight fast, after feeding a controlled low-fat diet, and before and after moderate exercise. Our purpose was to describe the variability in this biomarker and how various physiologic states effect the acylcarnitine concentrations in circulation. Results: Disease specific acylcarnitine species were higher after an overnight fast and decreased by approximately 60% two hours after a controlled breakfast meal. Moderate-intensity exercise increased the acylcarnitine species but it varied by diagnosis. When analyzed for a genotype/phenotype correlation, the presence of the common LCHADD mutation (c.1528G > C) was associated with higher levels of 3-hydroxyacylcarnitines than in patients with other mutations. Conclusions: We found that feeding consistently suppressed and that moderate intensity exercise increased disease specific acylcarnitine species, but the response to exercise was highly variable across subjects and diagnoses. The clinical utility of routine plasma acylcarnitine analysis for outpatient treatment monitoring remains questionable; however, if acylcarnitine profiles are measured in the clinical setting, standardized procedures are required for sample collection to be of value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-97
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • CPT2D
  • Free fatty acids
  • Long-chain fatty acid oxidation disorders
  • Plasma acylcarnitines
  • TFPD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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