The spectrum of peripheral neuropathy in disorders of the mitochondrial trifunctional protein

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2021 Jul;44(4):893-902. doi: 10.1002/jimd.12372. Epub 2021 Mar 10.


Peripheral neuropathy is a known irreversible long-term complication of long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (LCHADD) and mitochondrial trifunctional protein deficiency (MTPD), two inherited disorders of mitochondrial long-chain fatty acid oxidation. The underlying pathophysiology of neuropathy is still not fully understood. We report electrophysiological studies and neurological findings in a series of 8 LCHAD-deficient and 11 MTP-deficient patients. The median age at time of the study was 8.0 years (0.5-25 years). The overall prevalence of neuropathy was 58% with neuropathic symptoms being slightly more common in MTPD compared to LCHADD (70% vs 50%, respectively). Onset of neuropathy was significantly earlier in MTPD patients compared to LCHADD patients (median age at onset 4.7 vs 15.3 years, respectively, P = .047). In four patients, isolated peripheral neuropathy was the first and only presenting symptom, and in all four the diagnosis was missed by newborn screening. About half of the patients (45.5%) had a sensorimotor neuropathy, while 27.3% showed a pure motor form and another 27.3% an isolated sensory form. Despite early diagnosis by newborn screening and early initiation of therapy, peripheral neuropathy cannot be prevented in all patients with LCHADD/MTPD and has severe impact on the life of affected patients. Electrophysiology classifies LCHADD/MTPD neuropathy as axonal with secondary demyelination. A novel observation is that in patients with acute, fulminant onset of neuropathy, symptoms can be partly reversible. Further studies are needed to elucidate the underlying pathophysiology of axonal damage and possible therapeutic targets.

Keywords: LCHAD; MTP; complication; fatty acid oxidation; long chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency; mTFP; mitochondrial trifunctional protein deficiency; neuropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cardiomyopathies / complications*
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathies / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / complications*
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnosis
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / pathology
  • Male
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / complications*
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / diagnosis
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / pathology
  • Mitochondrial Trifunctional Protein / deficiency*
  • Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Rhabdomyolysis / complications*
  • Rhabdomyolysis / diagnosis
  • Rhabdomyolysis / pathology
  • Young Adult


  • Mitochondrial Trifunctional Protein

Supplementary concepts

  • Trifunctional Protein Deficiency With Myopathy And Neuropathy