Huntington's disease: clinical and chemical effects of choline administration

Ann Neurol. 1977 May;1(5):418-22. doi: 10.1002/ana.410010503.


Choline (Ch) administration sequentially increases blood Ch, brain Ch, and brain acetylcholine (ACh) levels in the rat and might be useful in Huntington's disease, a brain disorder thought to be associated with deficient cholinergic tone. Ten patients with Huntington's disease took Ch orally (8 to 20 gm per day) after the extent of their disabilities had been documented by clinical examination, movies, and combined electromyogram-accelerometer recordings. Choline levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid increased markedly during treatment with Ch, affirming that oral Ch administration increases the amount of ACh precursor delivered to the brain. Although some of the patients exhibited transient improvement in speech, balance, and gait, treatment with Ch failed to bring about consistent or lasting improvement in any of the subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Choline / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / drug effects


  • Choline
  • Acetylcholine