Test Catalog

Interpretive Handbook

Test 81927 :
Fatty Acid Oxidation Probe Assay, Fibroblast Culture

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Mitochondrial fatty acid beta-oxidation plays an important role in energy production, particularly in skeletal and heart muscle, and in hepatic ketone body formation. Disorders of fatty acid oxidation (FAO) are characterized by hypoglycemia, hepatic dysfunction, encephalopathy, skeletal myopathy, and cardiomyopathy. Most FAO disorders have a similar presentation and their biochemical diagnosis can, at times, be difficult. Commonly used metabolite screens such as urine organic acids, plasma acylcarnitines, and fatty acids are influenced by dietary factors and the clinical status of the patient. This often leads to incomplete diagnostic information or even false-negative results. Enzyme assays are limited to 1 enzyme per assay, and molecular assays for common mutations are limited by the frequent occurrence of compound heterozygous patients with uncommon, private mutations that must be distinguished from unaffected carriers. Furthermore, neither specific enzyme assays nor molecular genetic testing is available for all of the known defects. The purpose of the in vitro probe assay is to offer screening for several defects of FAO and organic acid metabolism under controlled laboratory conditions using fibroblast cultures.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

In vitro confirmation of biochemical diagnoses of the following fatty acid oxidation disorders:

-Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) deficiency

-Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency

-Long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiency

-Trifunctional protein deficiency

-Very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) deficiency

-Carnitine palmitoyl transferase deficiency type II (CPT-II)

-Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase (CACT) deficiency


In addition, the following organic acid disorders can be confirmed by this assay:

-2-Methylbutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase (SBCAD) deficiency

-Isobutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase (IBD) deficiency

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Abnormal results will include a description of the abnormal profile, in comparison to normal and abnormal corun controls. In addition, the concentration of those acylcarnitine species that abnormally accumulated in the cell medium are provided and compared to the continuously updated reference range based on analysis of normal controls. Interpretations of abnormal acylcarnitine profiles also include information about the results' significance, a correlation to available clinical information, possible differential diagnoses, recommendations for additional biochemical testing and confirmatory studies if indicated, name and phone number of contacts who may provide these studies at the Mayo Clinic or elsewhere, and a phone number to reach one of the laboratory directors in case the referring physician has additional questions.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

This assay is not informative if the deficient enzyme is physiologically not expressed in skin fibroblasts.


Sometimes, an abnormal acylcarnitine profile cannot differentiate between 2 disorders. In such instances, independent biochemical (eg, specific enzyme assay) or molecular genetic analyses are required. Recommendations for such testing will be included in the report.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Vockley J, Bennett MJ, Gillingham MB: Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders. In The Online Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease. Edited by D Valle, AL Beaudet, B Vogelstein, et al. New York,McGraw-Hill, 2014. Accessed March 29, 2017. Available at www.ommbid.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=971&sectionid=62633582 

2. Ensenauer R, Vockley J, Willard JM, et al: A common mutation is associated with a mild, potentially asymptomatic phenotype in patients with isovaleric acidemia diagnosed by newborn screening. Am J Hum Genet 2004;75(6):1136-1142

3. Rinaldo P, Matern D, Bennet MJ: Fatty acid oxidation disorders. Ann Rev Physiol 2002;64:477-502

4. Shen JJ, Matern D, Millington DS, et al: Acylcarnitines in fibroblasts of patients with long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency and other fatty acid oxidation disorders. J Inherit Metab Dis 2000;23:27-44

5. Matern D, Huey JC, Gregersen N, et al: In vitro diagnosis of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) deficiency. J Inherit Metab Dis 2001;24(Suppl.1):66

Tell Us What You Think