Hepatic betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase activity in the chicken is influenced by dietary intake of sulfur amino acids, choline and betaine

Jason L. Emmert, Timothy A. Garrow, David H. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is much interest in the metabolism of homocysteine, because elevated plasma homocysteine [hyperhomocyst(e)inemia] is an independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. Four chick assays were conducted to determine the effects of varying dietary sulfur amino acids, choline and betaine on the activity of hepatic betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT), an enzyme likely to be important in modulating plasma homocysteine. In Experiment 1, chicks were fed a purified crystalline amino acid diet containing adequate sulfur amino acids and choline. Excess dietary methionine, or the combination of excess cystine with choline or betaine, caused a small increase (P < 0.05) in BHMT activity. In Experiment 2, use of a methionine-deficient purified diet resulted in a threefold increase (P < 0.05) in BHMT activity, and addition of choline or betaine further increased (P < 0.05) BHMT activity. In Experiment 3, use of a methionine-deficient corn-peanut meal diet increased BHMT (P < 0.05) relative to that of chicks supplemented with adequate methionine, and addition of surfeit choline to the methionine-deficient basal diet caused a further increase (P < 0.05). In Experiment 4, addition of both surfeit choline and surfeit betaine to the methionine-deficient corn-peanut meal diet caused an increase (P < 0.05) in BHMT activity relative to that observed in chicks fed the methionine-deficient basal diet. These assays show that large increases in BHMT activity can be produced under methionine-deficient conditions, especially in the presence of excess choline or betaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2050-2058
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume126
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 1996

Keywords

  • betaine
  • betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase
  • chicks
  • choline
  • methionine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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