DOI: 10.1002/jimd.12664 ISSN: 0141-8955

Fifty years of research on mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders: The remaining challenges

Christine Vianey‐Saban, Nathalie Guffon, Alain Fouilhoux, Cécile Acquaviva
  • Genetics (clinical)
  • Genetics


Since the identification of the first disorder of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation defects (FAOD) in 1973, more than 20 defects have been identified. Although there are some differences, most FAOD have similar clinical signs, which are mainly due to energy depletion and toxicity of accumulated metabolites. However, some of them have an unusual clinical phenotype or specific clinical signs. This manuscript focuses on what we have learnt so far on the pathophysiology of these disorders, which present with clinical signs that are not typical of categorical FAOD. It also highlights that some disorders have not yet been identified and tries to make assumptions to explain why. It also deals with new treatments under consideration in FAOD, including triheptanoin and similar anaplerotic substrates, ketone body treatments, RNA and gene therapy approaches. Finally, it suggests challenges for the diagnosis of FAOD in the coming years, both for symptomatic patients and for those diagnosed through newborn screening. The ultimate goal would be to identify all the patients born with FAOD and ensure for them the best possible quality of life.

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