Serum choline in extremely preterm infants declines with increasing parenteral nutrition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Choline is an essential nutrient for fetal and infant growth and development. Parenteral nutrition used in neonatal care lack free choline but contain small amounts of lipid-bound choline in the form of phosphatidylcholine (PC). Here, we examined the longitudinal development of serum free choline and metabolically related compounds betaine and methionine in extremely preterm infants and how the concentrations were affected by the proportion of parenteral fluids the infants received during the first 28 postnatal days (PNDs). Methods: This prospective study included 87 infants born at gestational age (GA) < 28 weeks. Infant serum samples were collected PND 1, 7, 14, and 28, and at postmenstrual age (PMA) 32, 36, and 40 weeks. The serum concentrations of free choline, betaine, and methionine were determined by 1H NMR spectroscopy. Results: The median (25th–75th percentile) serum concentrations of free choline, betaine, and methionine were 33.7 (26.2–41.2), 71.2 (53.2–100.8), and 25.6 (16.4–35.3) µM, respectively, at PND 1. The choline concentration decreased rapidly between PND one and PND seven [18.4 (14.1–26.4) µM], and then increased over the next 90 days, though never reaching PND one levels. There was a negative correlation between a high intake of parenteral fluids and serum-free choline. Conclusion: Circulating free choline in extremely preterm infants is negatively affected by the proportion of parenteral fluids administered. Trial registration: Identifier NCT02760472, April 29, 2016, retrospectively registered.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Betaine, Enteral nutrition, Human milk, Methionine, Phosphatidylcholine, Proton nuclear magnetic resonance
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Jun 25
Publication categoryResearch