(redirected from Choline deficiency)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.


see vitaminvitamin,
group of organic substances that are required in the diet of humans and animals for normal growth, maintenance of life, and normal reproduction. Vitamins act as catalysts; very often either the vitamins themselves are coenzymes, or they form integral parts of coenzymes.
..... Click the link for more information.


A compound, trimethyl-β-hydroxyethylammonium hydroxide, used by the animal organism as a precursor of acetylcholine and as a source of methyl groups. It is a strongly basic hygroscopic substance with the formula

Choline deficiency in animals is associated with fatty livers, poor growth, and renal lesions. It is a lipotropic agent. There is no direct evidence of disease in humans due to choline deficiency, although there have been suggestions that some of the liver, kidney, or pancreas pathology seen in various nutritional deficiency states may be related to choline insufficiency. Choline is found in acetylcholine, which is necessary for nerve impulse propagation, and in phospholipids.

Humans eat 50–600 mg of choline per day, but only excrete 2–4 mg. Thus, conventional tests are of no value in studying choline requirements, and no knowledge of human choline requirements exists. See Acetylcholine



(also 2-hydroxyethyltrimethylammonium hydroxide), [(CH3)3N+CH2CH2OH]OH; occurs as colorless crystals. Choline is readily soluble in water and ethyl alcohol but is insoluble in ether and benzene. It easily forms salts with strong acids, and in aqueous solution it possesses the properties of a strong base.

Choline was first obtained from bile. Widespread in living organisms, it is particularly abundant in egg yolk and in the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart muscles of animals. It is usually regarded as a vitamin of the B complex, although animals and microorganisms are able to synthesize it. Choline is a constituent of phospholipids, such as lecithin and sphingomyelin, and it functions as a donor of methyl groups in the synthesis of methionine. From choline, animals can synthesize acetylcholine, which is one of the most important transmitters of nerve impulses. Choline is a lipotropic agent—that is, it prevents serious liver disorders that may arise as a result of excess accumulations of fat in the liver.

Choline chloride is used in medicine for the treatment of liver diseases and is included in some animal feeds. It is used for analytical purposes because of its ability to form poorly soluble salts with phosphotungstic acid, chloroplatinic acid, and certain other heteropoly acids.



C5H15O2N A basic hygroscopic substance constituting a vitamin of the B complex; used by most animals as a precursor of acetylcholine and a source of methyl groups.
References in periodicals archive ?
Choline deficiency has been linked to cancer development in animals, but studies in humans have not found the same link.
Genetic Variation of Folate-Mediated One-Carbon Transfer Pathway Predicts Susceptibility to Choline Deficiency in Humans" (2005) 102 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 16025.
Previous research has shown that choline deficiency causes fatty liver and other liver damage.
The pathways were altered by feeding either methionine or homocystine (H-H) in conjunction with either folic acid (FA) or choline deficiency.
The signs of choline deficiency including growth retardation, poor survival, poor feed efficiency (FE) and increased liver lipid concentration have been reported in carp (Cyprinus carpio) (Ogino et al.
However, the fad might have become popularized because of a pervasive choline deficiency in our population.
According to a commentary published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA) in August 2010, the most consistent result of choline deficiency is the development of fatty liver disease, an accumulation of fat in the liver that can cause inflammation and scarring.
Choline deficiency was also associated with elevated blood homocysteine levels.
In unpublished research, Zeisel has also shown that diethanolamine (a chemical used in shampoos, lotions, creams, and other cosmetics) can induce choline deficiency in mice.