Subclinical effects of long-chain fatty acid β-oxidation deficiency on the adult heart: A case-control magnetic resonance study

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2020 Sep;43(5):969-980. doi: 10.1002/jimd.12266. Epub 2020 Jun 5.


Cardiomyopathy can be a severe complication in patients with long-chain fatty acid β-oxidation disorders (LCFAOD), particularly during episodes of metabolic derangement. It is unknown whether latent cardiac abnormalities exist in adult patients. To investigate cardiac involvement in LCFAOD, we used proton magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (1 H-MRS) to quantify heart function, myocardial tissue characteristics, and myocardial lipid content in 14 adult patients (two with long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (LCHADD); four with carnitine palmitoyltransferase II deficiency (CPT2D); and eight with very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (VLCADD)) and 14 gender-, age-, and BMI-matched control subjects. Examinations included cine MRI, MR tagging, native myocardial T1 and T2 mapping, and localized 1 H-MRS at 3 Tesla. Left ventricular (LV) myocardial mass (P = .011) and the LV myocardial mass-to-volume ratio (P = .008) were higher in patients, while ejection fraction (EF) was normal (P = .397). LV torsion was higher in patients (P = .026), whereas circumferential shortening was similar compared with controls (P = .875). LV hypertrophy was accompanied by high myocardial T1 values (indicative of diffuse fibrosis) in two patients, and additionally a low EF in one case. Myocardial lipid content was similar in patients and controls. We identified subclinical morphological and functional differences between the hearts of LCFAOD patients and matched control subjects using state-of-the-art MR methods. Our results suggest a chronic cardiac disease phenotype and hypertrophic LV remodeling of the heart in LCFAOD, potentially triggered by a mild, but chronic, energy deficiency, rather than by lipotoxic effects of accumulating lipid metabolites.

Keywords: energy deficiency; fibrosis; left ventricular hypertrophy; lipids; magnetic resonance imaging; mitochondrial fatty acid β-oxidation; torsion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't