Neither short-term nor long-term administration of oral choline alters metabolite concentrations in human brain

Peter Dechent, Petra J.W. Pouwels, Jens Frahm

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Background: This study reexamined conflicting proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) reports of increased or unaffected choline-containing compounds (Cho) in human brain in response to a single dose of 50 mg/kg choline bitartrate. Methods: The present work was based on a well-established strategy for quantitative proton MRS (2.0 T, STEAM localization sequence, TR/TE/TM = 6000/20/10 ms, LCModel automated spectral evaluation) that allows the determination of cerebral metabolite concentrations rather than T1-weighted resonance intensity ratios. Moreover, the investigations were extended to a possible long-term effect of oral choline by monitoring the continuous ingestion of 2 x 16 g of lecithin per day for 4 weeks. Six young healthy volunteers participated in each study and metabolite concentrations were determined in standardized locations in gray matter, white matter, cerebellum, and thalamus. Results: Neither for short-term nor for long-term administration of choline do the data reveal statistically significant deviations from the basal concentrations of Cho, total N-acetyl-containing compounds (neuronal markers), total creatine, and myo-inositol (glial marker) in any of the investigated brain regions. Conclusions: Previous reports of increased Cho are not confirmed. Copyright (C) 1999 Society of Biological Psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-411
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral metabolism
  • Choline
  • Human brain
  • Lecithin
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Nutrition

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