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Review
. 2006 Apr;64(4):197-203.
doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2006.tb00202.x.

Perinatal Choline Influences Brain Structure and Function

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Free PMC article
Review

Perinatal Choline Influences Brain Structure and Function

Steven H Zeisel et al. Nutr Rev. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Choline is derived not only from the diet, but also from de novo synthesis. It is important for methyl-group metabolism, the formation of membranes, kidney function, and neurotransmission. When deprived of dietary choline, most adult men and postmenopausal women develop signs of organ dysfunction (fatty liver or muscle damage) and have a decreased capacity to convert homocysteine to methionine. Choline is critical during fetal development, when it influences stem cell proliferation and apoptosis, thereby altering brain structure and function (memory is permanently enhanced in rodents exposed to choline during the latter part of gestation).

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Metabolism of choline and possible mechanisms for effects on brain structure and function. Choline is acetylated to form acetylcholine, which is a trophic factor for brain. Choline is phosphorylated and then used to form membranes that are required for brain function. Finally, choline is a methyl-group donor that can influence DNA methylation and gene expression, which can, in turn, alter brain structure and function. Methyl-THF = methyltetrahydrofolate.

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