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J Nutr. 1994 Nov;124(11):2197-203.

Severe folate deficiency causes secondary depletion of choline and phosphocholine in rat liver.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111.


It has previously been shown that choline deficiency causes depletion of hepatic folate concentration in rats. Two separate experiments were undertaken to investigate the converse phenomenon: whether folate deficiency would lead to depletion of hepatic choline. In Experiment 1, severe folate deficiency was induced in rats by feeding an amino acid-defined diet containing (per kg diet) 1.4 g choline, 0 mg folate and 10 g succinylsulfathiazole. Control rats were fed the same diet containing 8 mg folate/kg. After 4 wk, plasma and hepatic folate concentrations were significantly depleted in the severely folate-deficient rats compared with controls (P < 0.001), and hepatic choline and phosphocholine concentrations were 65 and 80% lower, respectively (P < 0.001). In Experiment 2, moderate folate deficiency was induced in rats by feeding the same diet as described above, but with the succinylsulfathiazole omitted. After 24 wk, significant systemic folate deficiency was present in the moderately folate-deficient rats compared with controls (P < 0.001). A modest reduction (36%, P = 0.087) in hepatic choline concentration was observed in the moderately folate-deficient rats compared with controls. No significant differences in hepatic phosphocholine concentrations were detected between the two groups. These results indicate that severe folate deficiency causes secondary hepatic choline deficiency in rats.

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