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Patients with beta-thalassemia major (BTM) suffer from fatigue, poor physical fitness, muscle weakness, lethargy, and cardiac complications which are related to an energy crisis. Carnitine and acylcarnitine derivatives play important roles in fatty acid oxidation, and deregulation of carnitine and acylcarnitine metabolism may lead to an energy crisis. The present study aimed to investigate carnitine and acylcarnitine metabolites to gain an insight into the pathophysiology of BTM. Dried blood spots of 45 patients with BTM and 96 age-matched healthy controls were analyzed for free carnitine and 24 acylcarnitines by using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Although medium chain acylcarnitine levels were similar in the patients with BTM and healthy controls, free carnitine, short chain acylcarnitines, long chain acylcarnitines, and total acylcarnitine levels were significantly lower in patients with BTM than in the healthy controls (P < 0.05). Moreover, an impaired fatty acid oxidation rate was observed in the patients with BTM, as manifested by decreased fatty acid oxidation indicator ratios, namely C2/C0 and (C2 + C3)/C0. Furthermore, an increase in the C0/(C16 + C18) ratio indicated reduced carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT-1) activity in the patients with BTM compared with that in the healthy controls. Thus, a low level of free carnitine and acylcarnitines together with impaired CPT-1 activity contribute to energy crisis-related complications in the patients with BTMDownload