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acyl-CoA dehydrogenase very long chain

Normal Function

The ACADVL gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD). This enzyme functions within mitochondria, the energy-producing centers in cells. Very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase is essential for fatty acid oxidation, which is the multistep process that breaks down (metabolizes) fats and converts them to energy.

Very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase is required to break down a group of fats called very long-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are found in food and body fat. Fatty acids are a major source of energy for the heart and muscles. During periods without food (fasting), fatty acids are also an important energy source for the liver and other tissues.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency

Variants (also known as mutations) in the ACADVL gene have been found to cause very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) deficiency. Many of these variants change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in the VLCAD enzyme. Other variants delete part of the ACADVL gene or create a premature stop signal in the instructions for making VLCAD. These variants lead to a change in the enzyme's structure, severely reducing or eliminating its activity. As a result, very little functional enzyme is produced.

With a shortage (deficiency) of functional VLCAD enzyme, very-long chain fatty acids are not broken down properly.  As a result, these fats are not converted to energy, which can lead to signs and symptoms of this disorder such as the lack of energy (lethargy) and low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). Very long-chain fatty acids or partially metabolized fatty acids may build up in tissues and damage the heart, liver, and muscles. This abnormal buildup causes the other signs and symptoms of VLCAD deficiency.

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • ACAD6
  • acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, very long chain
  • acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase, very long chain

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Andresen BS, Bross P, Vianey-Saban C, Divry P, Zabot MT, Roe CR, Nada MA, Byskov A, Kruse TA, Neve S, Kristiansen K, Knudsen I, Corydon MJ, Gregersen N. Cloning and characterization of human very-long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase cDNA, chromosomal assignment of the gene and identification in four patients of nine different mutations within the VLCAD gene. Hum Mol Genet. 1996 Apr;5(4):461-72. doi: 10.1093/hmg/5.4.461. Erratum In: Hum Mol Genet 1996 Sep;5(9):1390. Citation on PubMed
  • Aoyama T, Souri M, Ushikubo S, Kamijo T, Yamaguchi S, Kelley RI, Rhead WJ, Uetake K, Tanaka K, Hashimoto T. Purification of human very-long-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase and characterization of its deficiency in seven patients. J Clin Invest. 1995 Jun;95(6):2465-73. doi: 10.1172/JCI117947. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Goetzman ES, Wang Y, He M, Mohsen AW, Ninness BK, Vockley J. Expression and characterization of mutations in human very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase using a prokaryotic system. Mol Genet Metab. 2007 Jun;91(2):138-47. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2007.01.013. Epub 2007 Mar 19. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Gregersen N, Andresen BS, Corydon MJ, Corydon TJ, Olsen RK, Bolund L, Bross P. Mutation analysis in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation defects: Exemplified by acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiencies, with special focus on genotype-phenotype relationship. Hum Mutat. 2001 Sep;18(3):169-89. doi: 10.1002/humu.1174. Citation on PubMed
  • Merritt JL 2nd, Matern D, Vockley J, Daniels J, Nguyen TV, Schowalter DB. In vitro characterization and in vivo expression of human very-long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase. Mol Genet Metab. 2006 Aug;88(4):351-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2006.02.010. Epub 2006 Apr 18. Citation on PubMed
  • Pons R, Cavadini P, Baratta S, Invernizzi F, Lamantea E, Garavaglia B, Taroni F. Clinical and molecular heterogeneity in very-long-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency. Pediatr Neurol. 2000 Feb;22(2):98-105. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(99)00132-0. Citation on PubMed
  • Souri M, Aoyama T, Hoganson G, Hashimoto T. Very-long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase subunit assembles to the dimer form on mitochondrial inner membrane. FEBS Lett. 1998 Apr 17;426(2):187-90. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(98)00343-3. Citation on PubMed
  • Spiekerkoetter U, Sun B, Zytkovicz T, Wanders R, Strauss AW, Wendel U. MS/MS-based newborn and family screening detects asymptomatic patients with very-long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. J Pediatr. 2003 Sep;143(3):335-42. doi: 10.1067/S0022-3476(03)00292-0. Citation on PubMed

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.