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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evidence of choline depletion and reduced betaine and dimethylglycine with increased homocysteine in plasma of children with cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis ( CF) is associated with many clinical complications including steatosis for which the relation to defective CF transmembrane conductance regulator protein is unclear. Choline deficiency results in hepatic steatosis. Choline is the precursor of betaine, which donates methyl groups for remethylation of homocysteine to methionine and dimethylglycine. Previously, we have shown phospholipid malabsorption and increased plasma homocysteine in children with CF. In these studies we used normal phase HPLC with tandem mass spectrometry to determine plasma choline, betaine, and dimethylglycine in children with CF (n = 34) and healthy control children without CF (n = 15). Plasma choline, betaine, and dimethylglycine were significantly lower in children with CF (means +/- SEM, 6.48 +/- 0.35, 23.8 +/- 1.49, 1.49 +/- 0.13 mumol/L, respectively) than in children without CF (8.98 +/- 0.46, 37.3 +/- 1.84, 3.01 +/- 0.17 mumol/L, respectively). Plasma choline (r = 0.373, P = 0.007) and betaine (r = 0.399, P = 0.005) were positively related to methionine, and choline was inversely related to homocysteine (r = -0.316, P = 0.03). Choline, betaine, and dimethylglycine were all significantly and positively related to the plasma S-adenosylmethionine:S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAM:SAH) ratio (r = 0.294, r = 0.377, r = 0.442, respectively; P < 0.05). The plasma choline:betaine and betaine:dimethylglycine ratios did not differ between the children with CF and the control children, suggesting no increase in betaine synthesis, or betaine-dependent remethylation of homocysteine. These studies suggest that choline depletion may contribute to increased homocysteine in children with CF. Choline depletion and altered thiol metabolism may contribute to the clinical complications associated with CF.[1]


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