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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Schlattmann, Peter / Tate, Jillian R. / Tsongalis, Gregory J.

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Neuroprotective actions of perinatal choline nutrition

1 / Tiffany J. Mellott1

1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

Corresponding author: Jan Krzysztof Blusztajn, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 East Concord Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 51, Issue 3, Pages 591–599, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/cclm-2012-0635, January 2013

Publication History

Published Online:


Choline is an essential nutrient for humans. Studies in rats and mice have shown that high choline intake during gestation or the perinatal period improves cognitive function in adulthood, prevents memory decline of old age, and protects the brain from damage and cognitive and neurological deterioration associated with epilepsy and hereditary conditions such as Down’s and Rett syndromes. These behavioral changes are accompanied by modified patterns of expression of hundreds of cortical and hippocampal genes including those encoding proteins central for learning and memory processing. The effects of choline correlate with cerebral cortical changes in DNA and histone methylation, thus suggesting an epigenomic mechanism of action of perinatal choline.

Keywords: brain; choline; DNA methylation; Down’s syndrome; epilepsy; memory; nutrition; pregnancy; Rett syndrome

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