Hepatic and renal betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase activity in pigs as affected by dietary intakes of sulfur amino acids, choline, and betaine

J Anim Sci. 1998 Feb;76(2):606-10. doi: 10.2527/1998.762606x.


In Exp. 1, young pigs were fed a basal diet containing .17% methionine (Met) (.14% digestible Met), and .48% cystine (.38% digestible cystine) for 14 d (34 to 48 d of age). Treatment additions were .25% DL-Met, .34% betaine, .30% choline, or .25% DL-Met and .34% betaine. Methionine, but not betaine or choline supplementation, increased (P < .05) weight gain and feed efficiency. Hepatic betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT) activity was increased (P < .05) by betaine and choline supplementation but was not affected by Met deficiency. Renal BHMT activity was increased (P < .05) by Met deficiency and was further increased (P < .05) by betaine supplementation. In Exp. 2, 10-kg pigs were fed the basal diet from Exp. 1 supplemented with enough DL-Met to bring the total basal Met to .24% (.20% digestible Met). Treatment additions consisted of .20% DL-Met or .34% betaine, and diets were fed for 16 d (34 to 50 d of age). Feed efficiency increased (P < .05) in response to Met, but not to betaine, supplementation. Hepatic BHMT activity increased (P < .05) in response to betaine and Met, but no changes in renal BHMT activity occurred. Although statistically significant changes in hepatic and renal BHMT activity occurred in both experiments, the magnitude of the responses was probably not physiologically important. Therefore, in contrast to previous findings with rats and chicks, it does not seem that hepatic and renal BHMT activity in pigs is influenced substantially by Met deficiency, or by surfeit levels of choline or betaine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Sulfur*
  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Betaine*
  • Betaine-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase
  • Chickens
  • Choline*
  • Cystine
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Kidney / enzymology*
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Methionine / deficiency
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Swine
  • Weight Gain


  • Amino Acids, Sulfur
  • Betaine
  • Cystine
  • Methionine
  • Methyltransferases
  • Betaine-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase
  • Bhmt protein, rat
  • Choline