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Carcinogenesis. 2000 May;21(5):983-9.

Dietary choline restriction causes complex I dysfunction and increased H(2)O(2) generation in liver mitochondria.

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Free Radical Biology and Aging Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK 73014, USA.


Removal of choline from the diet results in accumulation of triglycerides in the liver, and chronic dietary deficiency produces a non-genotoxic model of hepatocellular carcinoma. An early event in choline deficiency is the appearance of oxidized lipid, DNA and protein, suggesting that increased oxidative stress may facilitate neoplasia in the choline deficient liver. In this study, we find that mitochondria isolated from rats fed a choline-deficient, L-amino acid defined diet (CDAA) demonstrate impaired respiratory function, particularly in regard to complex I-linked (NADH-dependent) respiration. This impairment in mitochondrial electron transport occurs coincidentally with alterations in phosphatidylcholine metabolism as indicated by an increased ratio of long-chain to short-chain mitochondrial phosphatidylcholine. Moreover, hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) generation is significantly increased in mitochondria isolated from CDAA rats compared with mitochondrial from normal rats, and the NADH-specific yield of H(2)O(2) is increased by at least 2.5-fold. These findings suggest an explanation for the rapid onset of oxidative stress and energy compromise in the choline deficiency model of hepatocellular carcinoma and indicate that dietary choline withdrawal may be a useful paradigm for the study of mitochondrial pathophysiology in carcinogenesis.

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