Mechanistic Bases of Neurotoxicity Provoked by Fatty Acids Accumulating in MCAD and LCHAD Deficiencies

Alexandre U. Amaral Cristiane Cecatto Janaína C. da Silva Alessandro Wajner Moacir Wajner About the authors

Abstract

Fatty acid oxidation defects (FAODs) are inherited metabolic disorders caused by deficiency of specific enzyme activities or transport proteins involved in the mitochondrial catabolism of fatty acids. Medium-chain fatty acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) and long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiencies are relatively common FAOD biochemically characterized by tissue accumulation of medium-chain fatty acids and long-chain 3-hydroxy fatty acids and their carnitine derivatives, respectively. Patients with MCAD deficiency usually have episodic encephalopathic crises and liver biochemical alterations especially during crises of metabolic decompensation, whereas patients with LCHAD deficiency present severe hepatopathy, cardiomyopathy, and acute and/or progressive encephalopathy. Although neurological symptoms are common features, the underlying mechanisms responsible for the brain damage in these disorders are still under debate. In this context, energy deficiency due to defective fatty acid catabolism and hypoglycemia/hypoketonemia has been postulated to contribute to the pathophysiology of MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies. However, since energetic substrate supplementation is not able to reverse or prevent symptomatology in some patients, it is presumed that other pathogenetic mechanisms are implicated. Since worsening of clinical symptoms during crises is accompanied by significant increases in the concentrations of the accumulating fatty acids, it is conceivable that these compounds may be potentially neurotoxic. We will briefly summarize the current knowledge obtained from patients with these disorders, as well as from animal studies demonstrating deleterious effects of the major fatty acids accumulating in MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies, indicating that disruption of mitochondrial energy, redox, and calcium homeostasis is involved in the pathophysiology of the cerebral damage in these diseases. It is presumed that these findings based on the mechanistic toxic effects of fatty acids may offer new therapeutic perspectives for patients affected by these disorders.

Keywords
fatty acid oxidation defects; MCAD deficiency; LCHAD deficiency; medium-chain fatty acids; long-chain 3-hydroxy fatty acids; mitochondrial dysfunction; oxidative stress

Introduction

Medium-chain fatty acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) and long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiencies are among the most common fatty acid oxidation defects (FAODs) that are caused by deficient activities of MCAD and LCHAD, respectively. The biochemical hallmark of these disorders is tissue accumulation of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and long-chain 3-hydroxy fatty acids (LCHFAs) and their carnitine derivatives.

Medium-Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency

Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (E.C. 1.3.99.3) deficiency (OMIM # 201450) is the most common FAOD with a prevalence of around 1:10 000 newborns. It is caused by a defect in MCAD, leading to the accumulation of octanoate, decanoate, cis-4-decenoate, and their respective carnitine derivatives. Lactic acidosis has been also found in the affected patients, especially during episodes of metabolic decompensation.11 Roe, CR, Ding, J. Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders. In: Scriver, CR, Beaudet, AL, Sly, WS, Valle, D, eds. The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill; 2005.,22 Derks, TG, Reijngoud, DJ, Waterham, HR. The natural history of medium-chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in the Netherlands: clinical presentation and outcome. J Pediatr. 2006;148(5):665–670. Clinical presentation usually occurs during fasting or metabolic stress and is characterized by lethargy, seizures, and coma. Progressive encephalopathy with brain abnormalities is commonly found in many untreated patients.33 Touma, EH, Charpentier, C. Medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. Arch Dis Child. 1992;67(1):142–145. Muscle weakness and rhabdomyolysis during acute episodes can also be observed.44 Iafolla, AK, Thompson, RJ, Roe, CR. Medium-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency: clinical course in 120 affected children. J Pediatr. 1994;124(3):409–415.,55 Ruitenbeek, W, Poels, PJ, Turnbull, DM. Rhabdomyolysis and acute encephalopathy in late onset medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1995;58(2):209–214. Death may occur in 25% of patients with MCAD deficiency undiagnosed in the first presentation. In this context, diagnosis is usually performed by the detection of increased octanoylcarnitine concentrations in blood and medium-chain dicarboxylic acids and glycine derivatives in urine.11 Roe, CR, Ding, J. Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders. In: Scriver, CR, Beaudet, AL, Sly, WS, Valle, D, eds. The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill; 2005.

An important measure for MCAD deficiency treatment is to reverse catabolism and sustain anabolism by administrating high amount of carbohydrates and to prescribe frequent meals and fasting avoidance to prevent episodes of decompensation. On the other hand, l-carnitine sometimes coupled to riboflavin supplementation may be helpful in MCAD deficiency, as well as for very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) and multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiencies, although this is still controversial.66 Spiekerkoetter, U, Bastin, J, Gillingham, M, Morris, A, Wijburg, F, Wilcken, B. Current issues regarding treatment of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2010;33(5):555–561.,77 Behin, A, Acquaviva-Bourdain, C, Souvannanorath, S. Multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD) as a cause of late-onset treatable metabolic disease. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2016;172(3):231–241.l-Carnitine administration may increase urinary excretion of accumulating toxic metabolites by its property of binding to these compounds and correct l-carnitine deficiency,88 Lee, PJ, Harrison, EL, Jones, MG. l-Carnitine and exercise tolerance in medium-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency: a pilot study. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2005;28(2):141–152.1010 Antozzi, C, Garavaglia, B, Mora, M. Late-onset riboflavin-responsive myopathy with combined multiple acyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase and respiratory chain deficiency. Neurology. 1994;44(11):2153–2158. whereas riboflavin was shown to activate octanoyl-CoA dehydrogenase in lymphocytes from patients with MCAD deficiency,99 Derks, TG, Touw, CM, Ribas, GS. Experimental evidence for protein oxidative damage and altered antioxidant defense in patients with medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2014;37(5):783–789.,1111 Duran, M, Cleutjens, CB, Ketting, D. Diagnosis of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in lymphocytes and liver by a gas chromatographic method: the effect of oral riboflavin supplementation. Pediatr Res. 1992;31(1):39–42. as well as the respiratory chain.1212 Olsen, RK, Konarikova, E, Giancaspero, TA. Riboflavin-responsive and non-responsive mutations in FAD synthase cause multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase and combined respiratory-chain deficiency. Am J Hum Genet. 2016;98(6):1130–1145. On the other hand, newborn screening of MCAD deficiency has dramatically improved the clinical course of the disease, significantly preventing mortality and morbidity.1313 Lindner, M, Gramer, G, Haege, G. Efficacy and outcome of expanded newborn screening for metabolic diseases—report of 10 years from South-West Germany. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2011;6:44.

Long-Chain 3-Hydroxyacyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency

Long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1.211) deficiency (OMIM # 609016) is FAOD with an approximate prevalence of 1:50 000 newborns.1414 Hagenfeldt, L, Venizelos, N, von Dobeln, U. Clinical and biochemical presentation of long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Inherit Metab Dis. 1995;18(2):245–248. Laboratory and clinical features include hypoglycemia, metabolic acidosis, hyperlacticacidemia, hyperammonemia, skeletal myopathy, hypotonia, cardiomyopathy, and hepatopathy. Mortality is mainly caused by cardiac decompensation and liver failure and may be as high as 80%.1515 Spiekerkoetter, U . Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders: clinical presentation of long-chain fatty acid oxidation defects before and after newborn screening. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2010;33(5):527–532. Milder cases surviving into adolescence and adulthood usually present hypotonia, seizures, mental retardation, hypoglycemia, cardiomyopathy, peripheral neuropathy, and retinopathy.1515 Spiekerkoetter, U . Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders: clinical presentation of long-chain fatty acid oxidation defects before and after newborn screening. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2010;33(5):527–532.,1616 Tyni, T, Rapola, J, Paetau, A. Pathology of long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency caused by the G1528C mutation. Pediatr Pathol Lab Med. 1997;17(3):427–447. Metabolic crises are characterized by encephalopathy with seizures, hypoketotic hypoglycemia, vomiting, and dehydration precipitated by infections. Diagnosis of LCHAD deficiency is performed by identification of high urinary excretion of dicarboxylic acids with a hydroxyl group and their carnitine derivatives in blood.11 Roe, CR, Ding, J. Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders. In: Scriver, CR, Beaudet, AL, Sly, WS, Valle, D, eds. The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill; 2005.

Therapy is based on the prevention of fasting and acute infections, as well as a high carbohydrate consumption at frequent intervals associated with medium-chain triglyceride supplementation.1717 Spiekerkoetter, U., Lindner, M., Santer, R. Treatment recommendations in long-chain fatty acid oxidation defects: consensus from a workshop. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2009;32(4):498–505. The use of l-carnitine as adjuvant therapy is also controversial and may even aggravate the clinical condition possibly by generating toxic long-chain carnitine derivatives.1818 Rocchiccioli, F, Wanders, RJ, Aubourg, P. Deficiency of long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase: a cause of lethal myopathy and cardiomyopathy in early childhood. Pediatr Res. 1990;28(6):657–662.,1919 Treem, WR, Shoup, ME, Hale, DE. Acute fatty liver of pregnancy, hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets syndrome, and long chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency. Am J Gastroenterol. 1996;91(11):2293–2300. It is emphasized that patients affected by LCHAD deficiency are difficult to treat since many of them present severe clinical manifestations despite the use of an appropriate diet and medications.2020 Spiekerkoetter, U., Lindner, M., Santer, R. Management and outcome in 75 individuals with long-chain fatty acid oxidation defects: results from a workshop. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2009;32(4):488–497.

Table 1
Potential Pathogenetic Mechanisms Underlying Brain Damage in Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders (FAOD).

Potential Mechanisms of Neurotoxicity in FAOD

Although the pathophysiology of FAOD is still poorly known, brain dysfunction has been attributed to inadequate energy supply due to hypoketotic hypoglycemia, as well as by the toxic effects of high ammonia levels that occur in some patients with these disorders. However, other pathomechanisms seem to be implicated in their pathogenesis. In this context, observations of disturbed redox homeostasis in tissues from patients with MCAD deficiency99 Derks, TG, Touw, CM, Ribas, GS. Experimental evidence for protein oxidative damage and altered antioxidant defense in patients with medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2014;37(5):783–789. and more recently neurotoxic properties of the accumulating fatty acids and/or carnitine derivatives may represent contributory factors to FAOD pathophysiology.2121 Olpin, SE . Pathophysiology of fatty acid oxidation disorders and resultant phenotypic variability. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2013;36(4):645–658.,2222 Olsen, RK, Cornelius, N, Gregersen, N. Genetic and cellular modifiers of oxidative stress: what can we learn from fatty acid oxidation defects? Mol Genet Metab. 2013;110(suppl):S31–S39. In the present review, we focus on the role of disrupted mitochondrial homeostasis and oxidative stress observed in humans with MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies. We also provide animal experimental data demonstrating that disruption of mitochondrial functions is caused by the fatty acids found at high concentrations in tissues of the affected patients. This is consistent with the observations showing that symptomatology worsening is associated with substantial increase in the concentrations of the potentially toxic fatty acids, particularly during catabolic crises. Table 1 displays the proposed major pathomechanisms of brain damage in FAOD.2121 Olpin, SE . Pathophysiology of fatty acid oxidation disorders and resultant phenotypic variability. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2013;36(4):645–658.2525 Baruteau, J, Sachs, P, Broue, P. Clinical and biological features at diagnosis in mitochondrial fatty acid beta-oxidation defects: a French pediatric study of 187 patients. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2013;36(5):795–803.

It should be stressed that neural cells express β-oxidation enzyme activities at low levels, especially the thiolase activity that is nearly absent in this tissue, explaining the inability of brain to oxidize fatty acid to sustain ATP generation.2626 Yang, SY, He, XY, Schulz, H. Fatty acid oxidation in rat brain is limited by the low activity of 3-ketoacyl-coenzyme A thiolase. J Biol Chem. 1987;262(27):13027–13032.,2727 Reichmann, H, Maltese, WA, DeVivo, DC. Enzymes of fatty acid beta-oxidation in developing brain. J Neurochem. 1988;51(2):339–344. However, the presence of β-oxidation pathway enables neural cells to potentially produce and accumulate fatty acids in patients affected by MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies. On the other hand, although brain lipid composition is high, central nervous system is capable of synthesizing only a few nonessential fatty acids, so that both essential and some nonessential fatty acids must enter into the brain from the blood to be incorporated into complex lipids. Short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids with less than 12 carbons can be efficiently transported from the systemic circulation to the brain by passive diffusion through the blood–brain barrier (BBB), whereas long-chain fatty acids are less soluble and must be transported in the nonionized form linked to fatty acid transport proteins to cross the BBB. The protein-mediated transport is carried out by specific protein transporters expressed on the cell membrane, including the fatty acid transport proteins 1 to 6, the fatty acid translocase/CD36, and the plasma membrane fatty acid–binding protein.2828 Miller, JC, Gnaedinger, JM, Rapoport, SI. Utilization of plasma fatty acid in rat brain: distribution of [14C]palmitate between oxidative and synthetic pathways. J Neurochem. 1987;49(5):1507–1514.3030 Mitchell, RW, Hatch, GM. Fatty acid transport into the brain: of fatty acid fables and lipid tails. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2011;85(5):293–302.

Disruption of Mitochondrial Homeostasis in MCAD and LCHAD Deficiencies

Mitochondria are essential for cellular homeostasis and survival, since they play critical roles in energy (ATP) production and intracellular transfer, as well as in the regulation of redox and calcium homeostasis, fatty acid oxidation, and apoptosis.3131 McBride, HM, Neuspiel, M, Wasiak, S. Mitochondria: more than just a powerhouse. Curr Biol. 2006;16(14):R551–R560.,3232 Bueler, H . Mitochondrial dynamics, cell death and the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. Apoptosis. 2010;15(11):1336–1353. Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) is the major source of cellular ATP and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation.3333 Lemasters, JJ, Qian, T, Bradham, CA. Mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of necrotic and apoptotic cell death. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1999;31(4):305–319. Reactive oxygen species have essential functions in cellular signaling mainly by regulating the expression/activity of many genes and enzymes. However, when at high concentrations, ROS become toxic to the cell causing oxidative damage to mitochondrial proteins, lipids, and DNA that may lead to a cascade of apoptosis or necrosis.3434 Kroemer, G, Reed, JC. Mitochondrial control of cell death. Nat Med. 2000;6(5):513–519. Oxidative damage and elevated intracellular calcium concentrations cause mitochondrial stress and collapse of internal membrane potential in a process called mitochondrial permeability transition that also leads to cell death.3535 Kowaltowski, AJ, de Souza-Pinto, NC, Castilho, RF, Vercesi, AE. Mitochondria and reactive oxygen species. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009;47(4):333–343.

Brain is highly dependent on OXPHOS for energy production and therefore is highly susceptible to alterations in mitochondrial function. When OXPHOS is compromised, ATP synthesis is decreased and free radical production increased, potentially leading to cell damage. Thus, it is expected that disordered mitochondrial functions is associated with encephalopathy.

Available human studies point to mitochondrial dysfunction as an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of brain damage in patients affected by MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies. This is consistent with the observations of hyperlacticacidemia, decreased activity of respiratory chain complexes, oxidative stress biomarkers, mitochondrial morphological abnormalities, and rhabdomyolysis that have been demonstrated in patients affected by these diseases.55 Ruitenbeek, W, Poels, PJ, Turnbull, DM. Rhabdomyolysis and acute encephalopathy in late onset medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1995;58(2):209–214.,99 Derks, TG, Touw, CM, Ribas, GS. Experimental evidence for protein oxidative damage and altered antioxidant defense in patients with medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2014;37(5):783–789.,2323 Enns, GM, Bennett, MJ, Hoppel, CL. Mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I deficiency with clinical and biochemical features of long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency. J Pediatr. 2000;136(2):251–254.,3636 Tyni, T, Majander, A, Kalimo, H, Rapola, J, Pihko, H. Pathology of skeletal muscle and impaired respiratory chain function in long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency with the G1528C mutation. Neuromuscul Disord. 1996;6(5):327–337.4343 Wajner, M, Amaral, AU. Mitochondrial dysfunction in fatty acid oxidation disorders: insights from human and animal studies. Biosci Rep. 2015;36(1):e00281. However, the exact underlying mechanisms of mitochondrial deregulation are still unclear in these disorders.

Fatty Acid Toxicity

Table 2 shows potential mechanisms of mitochondrial disruption. Long-chain fatty acids that are routinely present in plasma of normal individuals were shown to have cytotoxic effects at high concentrations, impair ATP generation, uncouple OXPHOS, inhibit the respiratory chain, depolarize mitochondria by their protonophoric properties, induce oxidative stress, and have permeability transition.4444 Berry, MN, Clark, DG, Grivell, AR, Wallace, PG. The calorigenic nature of hepatic ketogenesis: an explanation for the stimulation of respiration induced by fatty acid substrates. Eur J Biochem. 1983;131(1):205–214.4949 Mironova, GD, Gritsenko, E, Gateau-Roesch, O. Formation of palmitic acid/Ca2+ complexes in the mitochondrial membrane: a possible role in the cyclosporin-insensitive permeability transition. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2004;36(2):171–178. Medium-chain fatty acid effects on mitochondrial functions are less studied, but may similarly affect mitochondrial respiration and disturb the translocation of ADP in mitochondria.5050 Schonfeld, P, Wojtczak, AB, Geelen, MJ, Kunz, W, Wojtczak, L. On the mechanism of the so-called uncoupling effect of medium- and short-chain fatty acids. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1988;936(3):280–288. Therefore, it is feasible that the fatty acids that accumulate in tissues of patients with MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies (Table 3) may similarly induce cellular toxicity. This presumption is supported by mounting evidence of deleterious effects on mitochondrial functions attributed to these compounds. We present below evidence that lipotoxicity caused especially by the principal fatty acids accumulating in MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies may contribute decisively to disrupt mitochondrial homeostasis in brain tissue.

Table 2
Toxicity of Fatty Acids Commonly Found in High-Concentration Human Plasma.
Table 3
Major Fatty Acids Accumulating in Medium-Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase (MCAD) and Long-Chain 3-Hydroxyacyl-CoA Dehydrogenase (LCHAD) Deficiencies.

Evidence That Mitochondrial Dysfunction Is Caused by the Major Fatty Acids Accumulating in MCAD and LCHAD Deficiencies

It can be seen in Table 4 that the MCFAs accumulating in MCAD deficiency deregulate various crucial mitochondrial functions in the brain. It has been demonstrated that MCFA, particularly decanoic and cis-4-decenoic acids, behave as uncouplers of OXPHOS and metabolic inhibitors, as well as inductors of mitochondrial permeability transition and oxidative stress.5151 Parker, WD, Haas, R, Stumpf, DA, Eguren, LA. Effects of octanoate on rat brain and liver mitochondria. Neurology. 1983;33(10):1374–1377.5656 Amaral, AU., Cecatto, C., da Silva, JC. Cis-4-decenoic and decanoic acids impair mitochondrial energy, redox and Ca(2+) homeostasis and induce mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening in rat brain and liver: possible implications for the pathogenesis of MCAD deficiency. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016;1857(9):1363–1372. These effects may be associated at least partly with the blockage of the respiratory chain provoked by MCFA that may stimulate superoxide and other ROS production5454 Schuck, PF, Ferreira Gda, C, Tonin, AM. Evidence that the major metabolites accumulating in medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency disturb mitochondrial energy homeostasis in rat brain. Brain Res. 2009;1296:117–126.,5656 Amaral, AU., Cecatto, C., da Silva, JC. Cis-4-decenoic and decanoic acids impair mitochondrial energy, redox and Ca(2+) homeostasis and induce mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening in rat brain and liver: possible implications for the pathogenesis of MCAD deficiency. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016;1857(9):1363–1372.5858 Reis de Assis, D, Maria Rde, C, Borba Rosa, R. Inhibition of energy metabolism in cerebral cortex of young rats by the medium-chain fatty acids accumulating in MCAD deficiency. Brain Res. 2004;1030(1):141–151. and with the protonophoric action of these fatty acids due to the transbilayer movement of undissociated (linked to protons) fatty acids through the mitochondrial inner membrane toward the mitochondrial matrix.5959 Wojtczak, L, Schonfeld, P. Effect of fatty acids on energy coupling processes in mitochondria. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993;1183(1):41–57.,6060 Schonfeld, P, Wojtczak, L. Fatty acids as modulators of the cellular production of reactive oxygen species. Free Radic Biol Med. 2008;45(3):231–241.

Table 4
Disruption of Brain Mitochondrial Homeostasis Provoked by the Major Medium-Chain Fatty Acids Accumulating in Medium-Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase (MCAD) Deficiency.

Mitochondrial dysfunction has also been suggested as an important pathomechanism involved in the neurological symptoms that affect individuals with LCHAD deficiency since there are clear human evidences of mitochondrial damage in these patients. Furthermore, the major hydroxylated fatty acids accumulating in LCHAD deficiency deregulate crucial mitochondrial functions such as maintenance of membrane potential, NAD(P)H redox status, and calcium retention capacity (Table 5). They also uncouple the OXPHOS, induce mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening, and provoke metabolic inhibition in forebrain of adolescent rats,6161 Tonin, AM, Ferreira, GC, Grings, M. Disturbance of mitochondrial energy homeostasis caused by the metabolites accumulating in LCHAD and MTP deficiencies in rat brain. Life Sci. 2010;86(21-22):825–831.,6262 Tonin, AM, Amaral, AU, Busanello, EN. Mitochondrial bioenergetics deregulation caused by long-chain 3-hydroxy fatty acids accumulating in LCHAD and MTP deficiencies in rat brain: a possible role of mPTP opening as a pathomechanism in these disorders? Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014;1842(9):1658–1667. besides inducing oxidative stress.6363 Tonin, AM, Grings, M, Busanello, EN. Long-chain 3-hydroxy fatty acids accumulating in LCHAD and MTP deficiencies induce oxidative stress in rat brain. Neurochem Int. 2010;56(8):930–936. These data allied to previous observations demonstrating that long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA derivatives inhibiting ATP production in human fibroblasts support the hypothesis that LCHFAs disrupt energy and redox mitochondrial homeostasis, probably representing a relevant underlying mechanism in the pathophysiology of the cerebral alterations observed in LCHAD deficiency.

Table 5
Disruption of Brain Mitochondrial Homeostasis Provoked by the Major Long-Chain 3-Hydroxy Fatty Acids Accumulating in Long-Chain 3-Hydroxyacyl-CoA Dehydrogenase (LCHAD) Deficiency.

Taken together, the available data strongly indicate that the major fatty acids accumulating in MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies probably contribute to the pathogenesis and perhaps symptomatology of affected patients, by disrupting mitochondrial homeostasis, especially during catabolic situations in which their concentrations significantly increase in blood and other tissues due to accelerated lipolysis. Figure 1 depicts the potential mechanisms involved in FAOD pathophysiology, emphasizing the important role of lipotoxicity provoked by the accumulating metabolites inducing deregulation of mitochondrial homeostasis.

Figure 1
Lipotoxicity as an important pathomechanism involved in the brain damage of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) and long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiencies.

Concluding Remarks

Growing evidence obtained from human and animal studies revealed that disturbance of mitochondrial functions associated with oxidative stress at least partly caused by accumulating fatty acids is involved in the pathophysiology of MCAD and LCHAD deficiencies. It is presumed that this pathomechanism possibly contribute to the chronic and neurologic symptoms seen in these defects. Moreover, although it is difficult to evaluate the relative contribution of the toxic fatty acids in the neuropathology of these diseases, it is conceivable that there may be a synergistic action between the toxicity of these metabolites, hyperammonemia, and hypoketotic hypoglycemia (energy deficit) leading to brain damage. It is expected that the development of new drugs targeting the mitochondrion, initially in animal models and thereafter as adjuvant therapeutic approaches for the patients, may become an important focus in the future. In this context, bezafibrate, which activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor that induces transcription of various enzymes involved in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation,6464 Barish, GD, Narkar, VA, Evans, RM. PPAR delta: a dagger in the heart of the metabolic syndrome. J Clin Invest. 2006;116(3):590–597. was shown to normalize impaired β-oxidation in skin fibroblast from patients with various FAOD,6565 Djouadi, F, Bonnefont, JP, Thuillier, L. Correction of fatty acid oxidation in carnitine palmitoyl transferase 2-deficient cultured skin fibroblasts by bezafibrate. Pediatr Res. 2003;54(4):446–451.6868 Djouadi, F, Habarou, F, Le Bachelier, C. Mitochondrial trifunctional protein deficiency in human cultured fibroblasts: effects of bezafibrate. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2016;39(1):47–58. as well as improve the clinical symptoms of late-onset type glutaric acidemia type II.6969 Yamada, K, Kobayashi, H, Bo, R. Efficacy of bezafibrate on fibroblasts of glutaric acidemia type II patients evaluated using an in vitro probe acylcarnitine assay. Brain Dev. 2017;39(1):48–57. Similar effects were attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory natural compound resveratrol with positive effects on mitochondrial energy metabolism7070 Lagouge, M, Argmann, C, Gerhart-Hines, Z. Resveratrol improves mitochondrial function and protects against metabolic disease by activating SIRT1 and PGC-1alpha. Cell. 2006;127(6):1109–1122.,7171 Mercader, J, Palou, A, Bonet, ML. Resveratrol enhances fatty acid oxidation capacity and reduces resistin and retinol-binding protein 4 expression in white adipocytes. J Nutr Biochem. 2011;22(9):828–834. improving mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation capacities in fibroblasts from patients with VLCAD and carnitine palmitoyltransferase II deficiency.7272 Bastin, J, Lopes-Costa, A, Djouadi, F. Exposure to resveratrol triggers pharmacological correction of fatty acid utilization in human fatty acid oxidation-deficient fibroblasts. Hum Mol Genet. 2011;20(10):2048–2057.,7373 Aires, V, Delmas, D, Le Bachelier, C. Stilbenes and resveratrol metabolites improve mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation defects in human fibroblasts. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2014;9:79. Thus, these compounds may represent potential novel candidates for the treatment of these diseases by a dual mechanism, improving fatty acid oxidation and counteracting oxidative stress.7373 Aires, V, Delmas, D, Le Bachelier, C. Stilbenes and resveratrol metabolites improve mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation defects in human fibroblasts. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2014;9:79.

Funding

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article: The research activity in the authors’ laboratories was supported in parts by research grants from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) 404883/2013-3, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS) 2266-2551/14-2.

References

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    Roe, CR, Ding, J. Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders. In: Scriver, CR, Beaudet, AL, Sly, WS, Valle, D, eds. The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill; 2005.
  • 2
    Derks, TG, Reijngoud, DJ, Waterham, HR. The natural history of medium-chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in the Netherlands: clinical presentation and outcome. J Pediatr. 2006;148(5):665–670.
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    Touma, EH, Charpentier, C. Medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. Arch Dis Child. 1992;67(1):142–145.
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    Iafolla, AK, Thompson, RJ, Roe, CR. Medium-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency: clinical course in 120 affected children. J Pediatr. 1994;124(3):409–415.
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    Spiekerkoetter, U, Bastin, J, Gillingham, M, Morris, A, Wijburg, F, Wilcken, B. Current issues regarding treatment of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2010;33(5):555–561.
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    Behin, A, Acquaviva-Bourdain, C, Souvannanorath, S. Multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD) as a cause of late-onset treatable metabolic disease. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2016;172(3):231–241.
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    Derks, TG, Touw, CM, Ribas, GS. Experimental evidence for protein oxidative damage and altered antioxidant defense in patients with medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2014;37(5):783–789.
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    Antozzi, C, Garavaglia, B, Mora, M. Late-onset riboflavin-responsive myopathy with combined multiple acyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase and respiratory chain deficiency. Neurology. 1994;44(11):2153–2158.
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    Duran, M, Cleutjens, CB, Ketting, D. Diagnosis of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in lymphocytes and liver by a gas chromatographic method: the effect of oral riboflavin supplementation. Pediatr Res. 1992;31(1):39–42.
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    Olsen, RK, Konarikova, E, Giancaspero, TA. Riboflavin-responsive and non-responsive mutations in FAD synthase cause multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase and combined respiratory-chain deficiency. Am J Hum Genet. 2016;98(6):1130–1145.
  • 13
    Lindner, M, Gramer, G, Haege, G. Efficacy and outcome of expanded newborn screening for metabolic diseases—report of 10 years from South-West Germany. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2011;6:44.
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    Hagenfeldt, L, Venizelos, N, von Dobeln, U. Clinical and biochemical presentation of long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Inherit Metab Dis. 1995;18(2):245–248.
  • 15
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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    16 May 2019
  • Date of issue
    2017

History

  • Received
    24 Oct 2016
  • Reviewed
    01 Feb 2017
  • Accepted
    06 Feb 2017
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E-mail: rgiugliani@hcpa.edu.br