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PLoS One. 2016 Apr 28;11(4):e0154597. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154597. eCollection 2016.

C26:0-Carnitine Is a New Biomarker for X-Linked Adrenoleukodystrophy in Mice and Man.

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Laboratory Genetic Metabolic Diseases, Departments of Pediatrics and Clinical Chemistry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Metabolomic Discoveries GmbH, Potsdam-Golm, Germany.
Department of Neurology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Departments of Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a progressive neurodegenerative disease, is caused by mutations in ABCD1 and characterized by very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA) accumulation. Virtually all males develop progressive myelopathy (AMN). A subset of patients, however, develops a fatal cerebral demyelinating disease (cerebral ALD). Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is curative for cerebral ALD provided the procedure is performed in an early stage of the disease. Unfortunately, this narrow therapeutic window is often missed. Therefore, an increasing number of newborn screening programs are including ALD. To identify new biomarkers for ALD, we developed an Abcd1 knockout mouse with enhanced VLCFA synthesis either ubiquitous or restricted to oligodendrocytes. Biochemical analysis revealed VLCFA accumulation in different lipid classes and acylcarnitines. Both C26:0-lysoPC and C26:0-carnitine were highly elevated in brain, spinal cord, but also in bloodspots. We extended the analysis to patients and confirmed that C26:0-carnitine is also elevated in bloodspots from ALD patients. We anticipate that validation of C26:0-carnitine for the diagnosis of ALD in newborn bloodspots may lead to a faster inclusion of ALD in newborn screening programs in countries that already screen for other inborn errors of metabolism.

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