Biochemical, molecular, and clinical characteristics of children with short chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency detected by newborn screening in California

Mol Genet Metab. 2012 May;106(1):55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2012.02.007. Epub 2012 Feb 9.


Background: Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (SCADD) is an autosomal recessive inborn error of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation with highly variable biochemical, genetic, and clinical characteristics. SCADD has been associated with accumulation of butyryl-CoA byproducts, including butyrylcarnitine (C4), butyrylglycine, ethylmalonic acid (EMA), and methylsuccinic acid (MS) in body fluid and tissues. Differences in genotype frequencies have been shown between patients diagnosed clinically versus those diagnosed by newborn screening. Moreover, while patients diagnosed clinically have a variable clinical presentation including developmental delay, ketotic hypoglycemia, epilepsy and behavioral disorders, studies suggest patients diagnosed by newborn screening are largely asymptomatic. Scant information is published about the biochemical, genetic and clinical outcome of SCADD patients diagnosed by newborn screening.

Methods: We collected California newborn screening, follow-up biochemical levels, and ACADS mutation data from September, 2005 through April, 2010. We retrospectively reviewed available data on SCADD cases diagnosed by newborn screening for clinical outcomes.

Results: During the study period, 2,632,058 newborns were screened and 76 confirmed SCADD cases were identified. No correlations between initial C4 value and follow-up biochemical markers (C4, EMA or MS levels) were found in the 76 cases studied. We found significant correlation between urine EMA versus MS, and correlation between follow-up C4 versus urine EMA. Of 22 cases where ACADS gene sequencing was performed: 7 had two or more deleterious mutations; 8 were compound heterozygotes for a deleterious mutation and common variant; 7 were homozygous for the common variant c.625G>A; and 1 was heterozygous for c.625G>A. Significant increases in mean urine EMA and MS levels were noted in patients with two or more deleterious mutations versus mutation heterozygotes or common polymorphism homozygotes. Clinical outcome data was available in 31 patients with follow-up extending from 0.5 to 60 months. None developed epilepsy or behavioral disorders, and three patients had isolated speech delay. Hypoglycemia occurred in two patients, both in the neonatal period. The first patient had concomitant meconium aspiration; the other presented with central apnea, poor feeding, and hypotonia. The latter, a c.625G>A homozygote, has had persistent elevations in both short- and medium-chain acylcarnitines; diagnostic workup in this case is extensive and ongoing.

Conclusions: This study examines the largest series to date of SCADD patients identified by newborn screening. Our results suggest that confirmatory tests may be useful to differentiate patients with common variants from those with deleterious mutations. This study also provides evidence to suggest that, even when associated with deleterious mutations, SCADD diagnosed by newborn screening presents largely as a benign condition.

MeSH terms

  • Acyl Coenzyme A* / blood
  • Acyl Coenzyme A* / genetics
  • Acyl Coenzyme A* / urine
  • Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase / deficiency
  • Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • California
  • Carnitine / analogs & derivatives
  • Carnitine / blood
  • Carnitine / urine
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnosis*
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics*
  • Male
  • Malonates / blood
  • Malonates / urine
  • Neonatal Screening*
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Succinates / blood
  • Succinates / urine


  • Acyl Coenzyme A
  • Malonates
  • Succinates
  • butyryl-coenzyme A
  • butyrylcarnitine
  • ethylmalonic acid
  • Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase
  • methylsuccinic acid
  • Carnitine

Supplementary concepts

  • Short chain Acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency