An improved functional assay in blood spot to diagnose Barth syndrome using the monolysocardiolipin/cardiolipin ratio

Frédéric M. Vaz, Henk van Lenthe, Martin A.T. Vervaart, Femke S. Stet, Johanne H. Klinkspoor, Hilary J. Vernon, Susan M.I. Goorden, Riekelt H. Houtkooper, Willem Kulik, Ronald J.A. Wanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Barth syndrome is an X-linked disorder characterized by cardiomyopathy, skeletal myopathy, and neutropenia, caused by deleterious variants in TAFAZZIN. This gene encodes a phospholipid-lysophospholipid transacylase that is required for the remodeling of the mitochondrial phospholipid cardiolipin (CL). Biochemically, individuals with Barth syndrome have a deficiency of mature CL and accumulation of the remodeling intermediate monolysocardiolipin (MLCL). Diagnosis typically relies on mass spectrometric measurement of CL and MLCL in cells or tissues, and we previously described a method in blood spot that uses a specific MLCL/CL ratio as diagnostic biomarker. Here, we describe the evolution of our blood spot assay that is based on the implementation of reversed phase-UHPLC separation followed by full scan high resolution mass spectrometry. In addition to the MLCL/CL ratio, our improved method also generates a complete CL spectrum allowing the interrogation of the CL fatty acid composition, which considerably enhances the diagnostic reliability. This addition negates the need for a confirmatory test in lymphocytes thereby providing a shorter turn-around-time while achieving a more certain test result. As one of the few laboratories that offer this assay, we also evaluated the diagnostic yield and performance from 2006 to 2021 encompassing the use of both the original and improved assay. In this period, we performed 796 diagnostic analyses of which 117 (15%) were characteristic of Barth syndrome. In total, we diagnosed 93 unique individuals with Barth syndrome, including three females, which together amounts to about 40% of all reported individuals with Barth syndrome in the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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