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Background: Impairments in gluconeogenesis have been implicated in the pathophysiology of fasting hypoglycemia in medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. However, whole body glucose and fat metabolism have never been studied in vivo. Methods: Stable isotope methodology was applied to compare fat and glucose metabolism between four adult patients with MCADD and four matched controls both at rest and during 1.5 h of moderate-intensity exercise. Additionally, intramyocellular lipid and glycogen content and intramyocellular acylcarnitines were assessed in muscle biopsies collected prior to and immediately after cessation of exercise. Results: At rest, plasma FFA turnover was significantly higher in patients with MCADD, whereas the plasma FFA concentrations did not differ between patients and controls. Blood glucose kinetics did not differ between groups both at rest and during exercise. Palmitate and FFA turnover, total fat and carbohydrate oxidation rates, the use of muscle glycogen and muscle derived triglycerides during exercise did not differ between patients and controls. Plasma FFA oxidation rates were significantly lower in patients at the latter stages of exercise. Free carnitine levels in muscle were lower in patients, whereas no differences were detected in muscle acetylcarnitine levels. Conclusions: Whole-body or skeletal muscle glucose and fat metabolism were not impaired in adult patients with MCADD. This implies that MCADD is not rate limiting for energy production under the conditions studied. In addition, patients with MCADD have a higher FFA turnover rate after overnight fasting, which may stimulate ectopic lipid deposition and, as such, make them more susceptible for developing insulin resistance.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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