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Choline is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in lipid metabolism and DNA methylation. Studies in rodents suggest that choline may adversely affect glycemic control, yet studies in humans are lacking. Using the human hepatic and placental cells, HepG2 and BeWo, respectively, we examined the interaction between choline and glucose treatments. In HepG2 cells, choline supplementation (1 mM) increased global DNA methylation and DNA methyltransferase expression in both low-glucose (5 mM) and high-glucose (35 mM) conditions. Choline supplementation increased the expression of peroxisomal acyl-coenzyme A oxidase 1 (ACOX1), which mediates fatty acid β-oxidation, especially in the high-glucose condition. High-glucose exposure increased the transcription of the gluconeogenic gene phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), while choline supplementation mitigated such increase. Compared to HepG2 cells, the placenta-derived BeWo cells were relatively unresponsive to either high-glucose or -choline treatment. In conclusion, choline and glucose interacted to affect macronutrient metabolic genes, yet there was no indication that choline may worsen glycemic control in these in vitro human cell culture models.
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