Reproductive state and choline intake influence enrichment of plasma lysophosphatidylcholine-DHA: a post hoc analysis of a controlled feeding trial

Br J Nutr. 2019 Dec 14;122(11):1221-1229. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519002009.


The major facilitator superfamily domain 2a protein was identified recently as a lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) symporter with high affinity for LPC species enriched with DHA (LPC-DHA). To test the hypothesis that reproductive state and choline intake influence plasma LPC-DHA, we performed a post hoc analysis of samples available through 10 weeks of a previously conducted feeding study, which provided two doses of choline (480 and 930 mg/d) to non-pregnant (n 21), third-trimester pregnant (n 26), and lactating (n 24) women; all participants consumed 200 mg of supplemental DHA and 22 % of their daily choline intake as 2H-labelled choline. The effects of reproductive state and choline intake on total LPC-DHA (expressed as a percentage of LPC) and plasma enrichments of labelled LPC and LPC-DHA were assessed using mixed and generalised linear models. Reproductive state interacted with time (P = 0·001) to influence total LPC-DHA, which significantly increased by week 10 in non-pregnant women, but not in pregnant or lactating women. Contrary to total LPC-DHA, patterns of labelled LPC-DHA enrichments were discordant between pregnant and lactating women (P < 0·05), suggestive of unique, reproductive state-specific mechanisms that result in reduced production and/or enhanced clearance of LPC-DHA during pregnancy and lactation. Regardless of the reproductive state, women consuming 930 v. 480 mg choline per d exhibited no change in total LPC-DHA but higher d3-LPC-DHA (P = 0·02), indicating that higher choline intakes favour the production of LPC-DHA from the phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase pathway of phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis. Our results warrant further investigation into the effect of reproductive state and dietary choline on LPC-DHA dynamics and its contribution to DHA status.

Trial registration: NCT01127022.

Keywords: DHA; Dietary choline; Lactation; Lysophosphatidylcholine; Pregnancy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Choline / administration & dosage*
  • Deuterium
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lactation / blood
  • Phosphatidylcholines / blood*
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Reproduction / physiology*


  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Deuterium
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase
  • Choline

Associated data