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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency

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What causes carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency?

Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency occurs when an enzyme, called "carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase" (CAT), is either missing or not working properly. This enzyme's job is to help change certain fats in the food we eat into energy. It also helps to break down fat already stored in the body.[1]

Energy from fat keeps us going whenever our bodies run low of their main source of energy, a type of sugar called glucose. Our bodies rely on fat for energy when we don't eat for a stretch of time - like when we miss a meal or when we sleep.[1]

When the CAT normal enzyme is missing or not working well, the body cannot use fat for energy, and must rely solely on glucose. Although glucose is a good source of energy, there is a limited amount available. Once the glucose has been used up, the body tries to use fat without success. This leads to low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, and to the build up of harmful substances in the blood.[1]

Last updated: 7/26/2013

  1. Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency. Screening, Technology and Research in Genetics. October 5, 2007; Accessed 4/4/2008.