Lifelong choline supplementation ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease pathology and associated cognitive deficits by attenuating microglia activation

Ramon Velazquez, Eric Ferreira, Sara Knowles, Chaya Fux, Alexis Rodin, Wendy Winslow, Salvatore Oddo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Currently, there are no effective therapies to ameliorate the pathological progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Evidence suggests that environmental factors may contribute to AD. Notably, dietary nutrients are suggested to play a key role in mediating mechanisms associated with brain function. Choline is a B-like vitamin nutrient found in common foods that is important in various cell functions. It serves as a methyl donor and as a precursor for production of cell membranes. Choline is also the precursor for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which activates the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAchR), and also acts as an agonist for the Sigma-1 R (σ1R). These receptors regulate CNS immune response, and their dysregulation contributes to AD pathogenesis. Here, we tested whether dietary choline supplementation throughout life reduces AD-like pathology and rescues memory deficits in the APP/PS1 mouse model of AD. We exposed female APP/PS1 and NonTg mice to either a control choline (1.1 g/kg choline chloride) or a choline-supplemented diet (5.0 g/kg choline chloride) from 2.5 to 10 months of age. Mice were tested in the Morris water maze to assess spatial memory followed by neuropathological evaluation. Lifelong choline supplementation significantly reduced amyloid-β plaque load and improved spatial memory in APP/PS1 mice. Mechanistically, these changes were linked to a decrease of the amyloidogenic processing of APP, reductions in disease-associated microglial activation, and a downregulation of the α7nAch and σ1 receptors. Our results demonstrate that lifelong choline supplementation produces profound benefits and suggest that simply modifying diet throughout life may reduce AD pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13037
JournalAging Cell
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Keywords

  • APP/PS1 mice
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Sigma-1 receptor
  • alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
  • choline supplementation
  • microglia activation
  • spatial memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology

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