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Choline and Its Products Acetylcholine and Phosphatidylcholine

  • R. J. Wurtman
  • M. Cansev
  • I. H. Ulus
Reference work entry

Abstract:

Choline, a quaternary amine obtained largely from the diet but also synthesized in the brain and, especially, liver, is an essential precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) and of the major membrane constituent phosphatidylcholine (PC). Plasma choline concentrations can vary over a fivefold range depending on the choline contents of the foods being digested. Since choline readily crosses the blood–brain barrier (BBB) through an unsaturated facilitated-diffusion system, these plasma changes can produce parallel changes in brain choline levels. In addition, since the enzymes that convert choline to ACh [choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)] and PC's precursor phosphocholine [choline kinase (CK)] are also poorly saturated with their choline substrate, increases in plasma choline can enhance the formation of ACh and phosphocholine, and the release of ACh. The subsequent conversion of phosphocholine to PC is increased if PC's other circulating precursors (uridine and omega-3 fatty acids) are provided. This leads to an increase in the levels of synaptic membrane within the brain. Choline is principally metabolized in the liver to betaine, which provides a source of methyl groups for the regeneration of methionine and S-adenosylmethionine.

List of Abbreviations:

5-methyl-THF

5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate

5,10-MTHF

5,10-methylene-tetrahydrofolate

AA

arachidonic acid

ACh

acetylcholine

AChE

acetylcholinesterase

ACTH

adrenocorticotropic hormone

AI

adequate intake

AMPA

DL-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionic acid

APP

amyloid precursor protein

BBB

blood-brain barrier

BuChE

butyrylcholinesterase

CaM-kinase

Ca+2/calmoduline kinase

CDP

cytidine-5′-diphosphate

CDP-choline

cytidine-5′-diphosphocholine

ChAT

choline acetyltransferase

CHT

high-affinity choline transporter

CK

choline kinase

CMP

cytidine-5′-monophosphate

CNS

central nervous system

CNT

concentrative nucleoside transporter

CP

choroid plexus

CPT

CDP-choline:1,2-diacylglycerol cholinephosphotransferase

CT

CTP:phosphocholine cytidylyl transferase

CTL

choline-transporter-like protein

CTP

cytidine-5′-triphosphate

DAG

diacylglycerol

DHA

docosahexaenoic acid

ECF

extracellular fluid

ENT

equilibrative nucleoside transporter

EPA

eicosapentaenoic acid

EPT

CDP-choline:1,2-diacylglycerol ethanolaminephosphotransferase

FAD

flavine adenine dinucleotide

FNB

Food and Nutrition Board

GH

growth hormone

GPC

glycerophosphocholine

GPC-CPD

Glycerophosphocholine cholinephosphodiesterase

GPC-PD

glycerophosphocholine phosphodiesterase

GRAS

generally regarded as safe

HC3

hemicholinium-3

IP3

inositol triphosphate

LH

luteotropic hormone

LHRH

luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone

LPCAT

lyso-phosphatidylcohline acyltransferase

LTP

long-term potentiation

mAChR

muscarinic acetylcholine receptor

MAPK

mitogen-activated protein kinase

nAChR

nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

NAD

nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide

NDPK

nucleoside diphosphate kinase

NGF

nerve growth factor

NMDA

N-methyl-D-aspartate

OCT

organic cation transporter

PAF

platelet-activating factor

PC

phosphatidylcholine

PCho

phosphocholine

PE

phosphatidylethanolamine

PEMT1

phosphatidylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase

PEMT2

phosphatidyl-N-methylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase

PK

protein kinase

PKA

protein kinase A

PLA1

phospholipase A1

PLA2

phospholipase A2

PLC

phospholipase C

PLD

phospholipase D

PS

phosphatidylserine

PUFA

polyunsaturated fatty acid

RDA

recommended daily allowance

SAH

S-adenosylhomocysteine

SAM

S-adenosylmethionine

SM

sphingomyelin

THF

tetrahydrofolate

TRH

thyrotropin-releasing hormone

TSH

thyroid-stimulating hormone

UL

upper limit

UCK

uridine-cytidine kinase

UMP

uridine-5′-monophosphate

UDP

uridine-5′-diphosphate

UTP

uridine-5′-triphosphate

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dr. Jan Krzysztof Blustajn and Ms. Carol Watkins for the critical review of this chapter. Studies described in this chapter were supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Mental Health (MH-28783); the NIH-NCRR (5-MO1RR01066–29); the Center for Brain Sciences and Metabolism Charitable Trust; and the Turkish Academy of Sciences (Ismail H. Ulus).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Wurtman
  • M. Cansev
  • I. H. Ulus

There are no affiliations available

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