Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD)

Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (DLD) deficiency is a metabolic disorder affecting the body's ability to break down certain amino acids - this causes a build up in the body, leading to the symptoms of DLD deficiency. The condition can vary in age of onset and severity.

In its most severe form, DLD deficiency begins in infancy and causes a buildup of lactic acid in the tissues, breathing problems, abnormal heartbeat, poor feeding, vomiting, lethargy, low muscle tone, liver problems, abnormal movements, and delayed development. Whilst some individuals only have symptoms during illness, others unfortunately do not survive the first few years of life. Milder forms of DLD deficiency become apparent later in childhood or adulthood.

Quick facts about dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD)
Genes: DLD
Inheritance: Autosomal Recessive
Relevant resources for dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD)

A quick genetics rundown

As humans we have about 23,000 genes. These genes are like tiny instruction manuals that influence our health, growth and development. We inherit half of our genes from our biological mum and the other half from our biological dad. These genes are lined up on structures called chromosomes. Most of us have 23 pairs of chromosomes. The first 22 pairs are called autosomes and for the most part - these are the same among men and women. The 23rd pair determine our sex - two X chromosomes for a female and one X and one Y chromosome for males.

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How is dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD) inherited?

dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD) is known as an autosomal recessive condition. For autosomal recessive conditions, if a person has a variation in one copy of their gene, they are a carrier. This means that they are healthy because they also have a working copy of the gene. But, they can still pass their non-working copy to their child.

If the other parent also happens to be a carrier of the same gene, there is a 25% (1 in 4) chance that they both pass this gene variation on to their child — and as such, have a child affected by the disease.

If both parents are carriers of dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD), there’s a one in four chance that their children could develop symptoms.
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What is carrier screening?

Carrier testing is like a checkup for your genes. It tests to see if you carry a gene variation that could cause a serious genetic disease in your child. Eugene offers an inclusive genetic carrier screening panel that includes dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD), but there's a total 301 conditions that can be tested.

Eugene’s carrier test is a clinical grade test that can be done from the comfort of your own home — it’s just a saliva test. You're also paired with a genetic counsellor who provides mindful support and guidance every step of the way.

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Should parents screen for dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD) before or early in pregnancy?

The biggest benefit of screening for dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD) is that it can help future parents understand their reproductive risk so they can be ready and empowered to make more informed decisions. If neither partner are carriers, it provides reassurance and peace of mind that the risk of having a child with a genetic disease is low.

Since 90% of children that have a recessive genetic disease like dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency (DLD) had no previous family history of it, it often feels completely out of the blue for the parents. Getting screened is a way to know this risk in advance, which can help familes manage or even prevent the disease in the first place.

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