Test Catalog

Test ID: MCADZ    
Medium-Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase (MCAD) Deficiency Full Gene Analysis, Varies

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Confirmation of diagnosis of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency (as a follow-up to biochemical analyses)


Screening of at-risk carriers of MCAD deficiency when an affected relative has not had molecular testing


Diagnosis of MCAD deficiency in autopsy specimens

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

If skin biopsy is received, fibroblast culture for genetic test will be added and charged separately.


See Newborn Screening Follow-up for Elevations of C8, C6, and C10 Acylcarnitines (also applies to any plasma or serum C8, C6, and C10 acylcarnitine elevations) in Special Instructions.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency is an autosomal recessive inherited defect in the mitochondrial oxidation of fatty acids. The mitochondrial beta-oxidation pathway plays a major role in energy production, especially during periods of fasting and physical exertion. MCAD deficiency is prevalent among individuals of northern European origin, affecting 1 in 4,900 to 1 in 17,000 individuals, with a carrier frequency estimated as high as 1 in 40 for some populations.


Phenotypic expression of MCAD deficiency is episodic in nature (ie, asymptomatic between attacks). Symptoms are typically precipitated by any stress (eg, fever, infection, vaccination) and mostly occur during the first 2 years of life, although some cases have been diagnosed in adulthood. Characteristic features of MCAD deficiency include: Reye-like syndrome (an acquired encephalopathy characterized by recurrent vomiting, agitation, and lethargy), fasting intolerance with vomiting, recurrent episodes of hypoglycemic coma, hypoketotic dicarboxylic aciduria, low plasma and tissue levels of carnitine, hepatic failure with fat infiltration (fatty liver), encephalopathy, and rapidly progressive deterioration leading to death. MCAD deficiency has also been associated with sudden infant death or sudden unexpected death syndrome.


Review of clinical features and biochemical analysis via plasma acylcarnitines (ACRN / Acylcarnitines, Quantitative, Plasma), fatty acid profile (FAO / Fatty Acid Oxidation Probe Assay, Fibroblast Culture), urine organic acids (OAU / Organic Acids Screen, Urine), and urine acylglycines (ACYLG / Acylglycines, Quantitative, Urine) are always recommended as the initial evaluation for MCAD. If previously performed, the results of these biochemical assays should be included with the specimen as they are necessary for accurate interpretation of the MCAD sequence analysis.


The MCAD gene (ACADM) maps to 1p31 and has 12 exons, spanning 44 kb of DNA. Most mutations are family-specific with the exception of the recurrent A->G transition at nucleotide 985 (985A->G). Among MCAD-deficient patients, approximately 52% are homozygous for the 985A->G mutation. The majority of the remaining patients are compound heterozygous for the 985A->G mutation and a different mutation.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

All detected alterations are evaluated according to American College of Medical Genetics recommendations.(1) Variants are classified based on known, predicted, or possible pathogenicity and reported with interpretive comments detailing their potential or known significance.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

A small percentage of individuals who are carriers or have a diagnosis of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency may have a mutation that is not identified by this method (eg, large genomic deletions, promoter mutations). The absence of a mutation, therefore, does not eliminate the possibility of positive carrier status or the diagnosis of MCAD. For carrier testing, it is important to first document the presence of an ACADM gene mutation in an affected family member.


In some cases, DNA alterations of undetermined significance may be identified.


Rare polymorphisms exist that could lead to false-negative or false-positive results. If results obtained do not match the clinical findings, additional testing should be considered.


Test results should be interpreted in the context of clinical findings, family history, and other laboratory data. Errors in our interpretation of results may occur if information given is inaccurate or incomplete.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Richards S, Aziz N, Bale S, et al: Standards and guidelines for the interpretation of sequence variants: a joint consensus recommendation of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the Association for Molecular Pathology. Genet Med 2015 May;17(5):405-424

2. Grosse SD, Khoury MJ, Greene CL, et al: The epidemiology of medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency: An update. Genet Med 2006 April:8(4):205-212

2. Ziadeh R, Hoffman EP, Finegold DM, et al: Medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in Pennsylvania: neonatal screening shows high incidence and unexpected mutation frequency. Pediatr Res 1995 May;37(5):675-678

3. Roe CR, Coates PM: Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. In The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease. Vol 1. Seventh edition. Edited by CR Scriver, AL Beaudet, WS Sly, D Valle. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1995, pp 1501-1533

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test