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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2013 Mar 1;51(3):467-75.

Metabolic crosstalk between choline/1-carbon metabolism and energy homeostasis.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nutrition Research Institute, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA.


There are multiple identified mechanisms involved in energy metabolism, insulin resistance and adiposity, but there are here-to-fore unsuspected metabolic factors that also influence these processes. Studies in animal models suggest important links between choline/1-carbon metabolism and energy homeostasis. Rodents fed choline deficient diets become hypermetabolic. Mice with deletions in one of several different genes of choline metabolism have phenotypes that include increased metabolic rate, decreased body fat/lean mass ratio, increased insulin sensitivity, decreased ATP production by mitochondria, or decreased weight gain on a high fat diet. In addition, farmers have recognized that the addition of a metabolite of choline (betaine) to cattle and swine feed reduces body fat/lean mass ratio. Choline dietary intake in humans varies over a > three-fold range, and genetic variation exists that modifies individual requirements for this nutrient. Although there are some epidemiologic studies in humans suggesting a link between choline/1-carbon metabolism and energy metabolism, there have been no controlled studies in humans that were specifically designed to examine this relationship.

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