Acute fatty liver of pregnancy and long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency

Hepatology. 1994 Feb;19(2):339-45.


The pathogenesis of acute fatty liver of pregnancy is unknown, but similarities in the clinical presentation and the histological appearance of the liver with those found in children with metabolic defects in the intramitochondrial beta-oxidation pathway of the liver suggest that a disturbance in hepatic fatty acid oxidation may play a role. We report a woman with acute fatty liver of pregnancy who gave birth to a seemingly normal full-term infant who was seen at 4 mo of age with hypoglycemia, coma and profound hepatic steatosis. The infant had a defect in fatty acid oxidation, long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency, and the mother proved to be heterozygous for this metabolic condition. We hypothesize that the interaction of an affected fetus with a female heterozygous for this defect in fatty acid oxidation in the late third trimester accounts for some cases of acute fatty liver of pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxyacyl CoA Dehydrogenases / deficiency*
  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Carnitine / blood
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Fatty Liver / etiology*
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / enzymology
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / enzymology
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics*
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*


  • Fatty Acids
  • 3-Hydroxyacyl CoA Dehydrogenases
  • Carnitine