Metabolic control during exercise with and without medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) in children with long-chain 3-hydroxy acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) or trifunctional protein (TFP) deficiency

Melanie B. Gillingham, Bradley Scott, Diane Elliott, Cary O. Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


Exercise induced rhabdomyolysis is a complication of long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) and mitochondrial trifunctional protein (TFP) deficiency that frequently leads to exercise avoidance. Dietary therapy for most subjects includes medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) supplementation but analysis of diet records indicates that the majority of patients consume oral MCT only with breakfast and at bedtime. We hypothesized that MCT immediately prior to exercise would provide an alternative fuel source during that bout of exercise and improve exercise tolerance in children with LCHAD deficiency. Nine subjects completed two 45 min moderate intensity (60-70% predicted maximum heart rate (HR)) treadmill exercise tests. Subjects were given 4 oz of orange juice alone or orange juice and 0.5 g MCT per kg lean body mass, 20 min prior to exercise in a randomized cross-over design. ECG and respiratory gas exchange including respiratory quotient (RQ) were monitored. Blood levels of acylcarnitines, creatine kinase, lactate, and β-hydroxybutyrate were measured prior to and immediately after exercise, and again following 20 min rest. Creatine kinase and lactate levels did not change with exercise. There was no significant difference in RQ between the two exercise tests but there was a decrease in steady-state HR following MCT supplementation. Cumulative long-chain 3-hydroxyacylcarnitines were 30% lower and β-hydroxybutyrate was three-fold higher after the MCT-pretreated exercise test compared to the test with orange juice alone. Coordinating MCT supplementation with periods of increased activity may improve the metabolic control of children with LCHAD and TFP deficiency following exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006



  • Exercise
  • Fatty-acid oxidation
  • Long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coA dehydrogenase
  • Long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-coA dehydrogenase deficiency
  • Medium-chain triglyceride
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Trifunctional protein
  • Trifunctional protein deficiency
  • β-Oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology

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