Multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD) as a cause of late-onset treatable metabolic disease

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2016 Mar;172(3):231-41. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2015.11.008. Epub 2016 Mar 30.


Introduction: Late-onset multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD) is a rare, treatable, beta-oxidation disorder responsible for neuromuscular symptoms in adults. This case series describes the clinical and biochemical features of 13 French patients with late-onset MADD.

Methods and results: Thirteen ambulant patients (eight women, five men), with a median age at onset of 27 years, initially experienced exercise intolerance (n=9), isolated muscle weakness (n=1) and a multisystemic pattern with either central nervous system or hepatic dysfunction (n=3). During the worsening period, moderate rhabdomyolysis (n=5), a pseudomyasthenic pattern (n=5) and acute respiratory failure (n=1) have been observed. Weakness typically affected the proximal limbs and axial muscles, and there was sometimes facial asymmetry (n=3). Moderate respiratory insufficiency was noted in one case. Median baseline creatine kinase was 190IU/L. Lactacidemia was sometimes moderately increased at rest (3/10) and after exercise (1/3). The acylcarnitine profile was characteristic, with increases in all chain-length acylcarnitine species. Electromyography revealed a myogenic pattern, while muscle biopsy showed lipidosis, sometimes with COX-negative fibers (n=2). The mitochondrial respiratory chain was impaired in five cases, with coenzyme Q10 decreased in two cases. All patients harbored mutations in the ETFDH gene (four homozygous, seven compound heterozygous, two single heterozygous), with nine previously unidentified mutations. All patients were good responders to medical treatment, but exercise intolerance and/or muscular weakness persisted in 11 of them.

Conclusion: Late-onset forms of MADD may present as atypical beta-oxidation disorders. Acylcarnitine profiling and muscle biopsy remain the most decisive investigations for assessing the diagnosis. These tests should thus probably be performed more widely, particularly in unexplained cases of neuromuscular and multisystemic disorders.

Keywords: Acylcarnitine profile; ETFDH; Exercise intolerance; Multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency; Muscle lipidosis; Rhabdomyolysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Biopsy
  • Carnitine / analogs & derivatives
  • Carnitine / metabolism
  • Electromyography
  • Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins / genetics
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / genetics
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / enzymology*
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Acyl Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency / complications*
  • Multiple Acyl Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency / genetics*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / enzymology*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / genetics
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / therapy*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-NH Group Donors / genetics
  • Rhabdomyolysis / etiology
  • Young Adult


  • Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • acylcarnitine
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-NH Group Donors
  • electron-transferring-flavoprotein dehydrogenase
  • Carnitine