Perinatal choline influences brain structure and function

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


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).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Choline / administration & dosage*
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / drug effects*
  • Folic Acid / drug effects
  • Folic Acid / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactation
  • Male
  • Methionine / drug effects
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Nootropic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Perinatal Care*
  • Pregnancy


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Folic Acid
  • Methionine
  • Choline