Carnitine derivatives of disease-specific acyl-CoAs are the diagnostic hallmark for long-chain fatty acid β-oxidation disorders (lcFAOD), including carnitine shuttle deficiencies, very-long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (VLCADD), long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (LCHADD) and mitochondrial trifunctional protein deficiency (MPTD). The exact consequence of accumulating lcFAO-intermediates and their influence on cellular lipid homeostasis is, however, still unknown. To investigate the fate and cellular effects of the accumulating lcFAO-intermediates and to explore the presence of disease-specific markers, we used tracer-based lipidomics with deuterium-labeled oleic acid (D9-C18:1) in lcFAOD patient-derived fibroblasts. In line with previous studies, we observed a trend towards neutral lipid accumulation in lcFAOD. In addition, we detected a direct connection between the chain length and patterns of (un)saturation of accumulating acylcarnitines and the various enzyme deficiencies. Our results also identified two disease-specific candidate biomarkers. Lysophosphatidylcholine(14:1) (LPC(14:1)) was specifically increased in severe VLCADD compared to mild VLCADD and control samples. This was confirmed in plasma samples showing an inverse correlation with enzyme activity, which was better than the classic diagnostic marker C14:1-carnitine. The second candidate biomarker was an unknown lipid class, which we identified as S-(3-hydroxyacyl)cysteamines. We hypothesized that these were degradation products of the CoA moiety of accumulating 3-hydroxyacyl-CoAs. S-(3-hydroxyacyl)cysteamines were significantly increased in LCHADD compared to controls and other lcFAOD, including MTPD. Our findings suggest extensive alternative lipid metabolism in lcFAOD and confirm that lcFAOD accumulate neutral lipid species. In addition, we present two disease-specific candidate biomarkers for VLCADD and LCHADD, that may have significant relevance for disease diagnosis, prognosis, and monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23478
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2024


  • biomarkers
  • inborn errors
  • lipid metabolism
  • lipid metabolism disorders
  • lipidomics
  • lipolysis and fatty acids
  • lysophospholipids
  • mitochondria

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