Background: There is a potential role of choline in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease through its involvement in lipid and one-carbon metabolism.Objective: We evaluated the associations of plasma choline and choline-related compounds with cardiometabolic risk factors, history of cardiovascular disease, and cerebrovascular pathology.Design: A cross-sectional subset of the Nutrition, Aging, and Memory in Elders cohort who had undergone MRI of the brain (n = 296; mean ± SD age: 73 ± 8.1 y) was assessed. Plasma concentrations of free choline, betaine, and phosphatidylcholine were measured with the use of liquid-chromatography-stable-isotope dilution-multiple-reaction monitoring-mass spectrometry. A volumetric analysis of MRI was used to determine the cerebrovascular pathology (white-matter hyperintensities and small- and large-vessel infarcts). Multiple linear and logistic regression models were used to examine relations of plasma measures with cardiometabolic risk factors, history of cardiovascular disease, and radiologic evidence of cerebrovascular pathology.Results: Higher concentrations of plasma choline were associated with an unfavorable cardiometabolic risk-factor profile [lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, higher total homocysteine, and higher body mass index (BMI)] and greater odds of large-vessel cerebral vascular disease or history of cardiovascular disease but lower odds of small-vessel cerebral vascular disease. Conversely, higher concentrations of plasma betaine were associated with a favorable cardiometabolic risk-factor profile [lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides] and lower odds of diabetes. Higher concentrations of plasma phosphatidylcholine were associated with characteristics of both a favorable cardiometabolic risk-factor profile (higher HDL cholesterol, lower BMI, lower C-reactive protein, lower waist circumference, and lower odds of hypertension and diabetes) and an unfavorable profile (higher LDL cholesterol and triglycerides).Conclusion: Choline and its metabolites have differential associations with cardiometabolic risk factors and subtypes of vascular disease, thereby suggesting differing roles in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular and cerebral large-vessel disease compared with that of small-vessel disease.
Keywords: cardiometabolic risk; cerebrovascular disease; choline; magnetic resonance imaging; nutrition; older adults.
© 2017 American Society for Nutrition.