Choline supplementation in early life improves and low levels of choline can impair outcomes in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

  1. Center for Dementia Research The Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research Orangeburg, NY 10962
  2. Department of Neuroscience and Physiology New York University Grossman School of Medicine New York, NY 100016
  3. Departments of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry New York University Grossman School of Medicine New York, NY 10016
  4. Department of Psychiatry New York University Grossman School of Medicine New York, NY 10016
  5. NYU Neuroscience Institute New York University Grossman School of Medicine New York, NY 10016

Peer review process

Not revised: This Reviewed Preprint includes the authors’ original preprint (without revision), an eLife assessment, and public reviews.

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  • Reviewing Editor
    Inna Slutsky
    Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Senior Editor
    John Huguenard
    Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, United States of America

Reviewer #1 (Public Review):


Chartampila et al. describe the effect of early-life choline supplementation on cognitive functions and epileptic activity in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. The cognitive abilities are assessed by the novel object recognition test and the novel object location test, performed in the same cohort of mice at 3 months and 6 months of age. Neuronal loss was tested using NeuN immunoreactivity, and neuronal hyperexcitability was examined using FosB and video-EEG recordings.


The study was designed as a 6-month follow-up, with repeated behavioral and EEG measurements through disease development, providing valuable and interesting findings on AD progression and the effect of early-life choline supplantation. Moreover, the behavioral data that suggest an adverse effect of low choline in WT mice are interesting and important beyond the context of AD.


1. The multiple headings and subheadings, focusing on the experimental method rather than the narrative, reduce the readability.
2. Quantification of NeuN and FosB in WT littermates is needed to demonstrate rescue of neuronal death and hyperexcitability by high choline supplementation and also to gain further insights into the adverse effect of low choline on the performance of WT mice in the behavioral test.
3. Quantification of the discrimination ratio of the novel object and novel location tests can facilitate the comparison between the different genotypes and diets.
4. The longitudinal analyses enable the performance of multi-level correlations between the discrimination ratio in NOR and NOL, NeuN and Fos levels, multiple EEG parameters, and premature death. Such analysis can potentially identify biomarkers associated with AD progression. These can be interesting in different choline supplementation, but also in the standard choline diet.

Reviewer #2 (Public Review):


The authors demonstrated that maternal choline supplementation (MCS) improved spatial memory, reduced a marker of hyperexcitability/epilepsy (FosB expression), and reduced oxidative stress (as measured by restored NeuN expression) in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model. This multidisciplinary study spanned behavior, EEG, and histological measures and constituted a large amount of work. Overall, the results supported that MCS does have important effects on hippocampal function, which may substantially impact human AD.


The strength of the group was the ability to monitor the incidence of interictal spikes (IIS) over the course of 1.2-6 months in the Tg2576 Alzheimer's disease model, combined with meaningful behavioral and histological measures. The authors were able to demonstrate MCS had protective effects in Tg2576 mice, which was particularly convincing in the hippocampal novel object location task.


Although choline deficiency was associated with impaired learning and elevated FosB expression, consistent with increased hyperexcitability, IIS was reduced with both low and high choline diets. Although not necessarily a weakness, it complicates the interpretation and requires further evaluation.

  1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  2. Wellcome Trust
  3. Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
  4. Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation