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Changes in pediatric plasma acylcarnitines upon fasting for refined interpretation of metabolic stress

van Rijt, W. J., van der Ende, R. M., Volker-Touw, C. M. L., van Spronsen, F., Derks, T. G. J. & Heiner-Fokkema, M. R., Aug-2019, In : Molecular Genetics and Metabolism. 127, 4, p. 327-335 9 p.

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  • Changes in pediatric plasma acylcarnitines upon fasting for refined interpretation of metabolic stress

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BACKGROUND: Childhood fasting intolerance is a life-threatening problem associated with various inborn errors of metabolism. Plasma acylcarnitines reflect fatty acid oxidation and help determine fasting intolerance etiology. Pediatric reference values of plasma acylcarnitines upon fasting are not available, complicating interpretation of stress samples.

METHODS: Retrospective analysis of supervised clinical fasting studies between 01/2005-09/2012. Exclusion criteria involved patients with (suspected) disorders, repeated tests or incomplete results. Remaining children were grouped according to age: group A (≤24 months), B (25-84 months) and C (≥85 months). Median and 2.5th to 97.5th percentiles of basic metabolic parameters and acylcarnitines were determined at start and end of testing on the ward and analyzed for significant differences (p<0.05).

RESULTS: Out of 127 fasting studies, 48 were included: group A (n=13), B (n=23) and C (n=12). Hypoglycemia occurred in 21%. Children from group C demonstrated significantly higher end glucose concentrations while end ketone body concentrations were significantly lower compared to younger children. In all groups, free carnitine and C3-carnitine significantly decreased upon fasting, while C2-, C6-, C12:1-, C12-, C14:1-, C14-, C16:1- and C16-carnitine significantly increased. End concentrations of C6-, C12:1-, C12-, C14:1-, C14-, C16:1-, C16- and C18:1-carnitine were significantly lower in children ≥85 months compared to younger children.

CONCLUSIONS: Fasting-induced counter-regulatory mechanisms to maintain energy homeostasis are age-dependent. This influences the changes in basic metabolic parameters and acylcarnitine profiles. Our data enable improved interpretation of the individual fasting response and may support assessment of minimal safe fasting times or treatment responses in patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Volume127
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2019

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