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Impairments in placental development can adversely affect pregnancy outcomes. The bioactive nutrient choline may mitigate some of these impairments, as suggested by data in humans, animals, and human trophoblasts. Herein, we investigated the effects of maternal choline supplementation (MCS) on parameters of fetal growth in a Dlx3+/− (distal-less homeobox 3) mouse model of placental insufficiency. Dlx3+/− female mice were assigned to 1X (control), 2X, or 4X choline intake levels during gestation. Dams were sacrificed at embryonic days E10.5, 12.5, 15.5, and 18.5. At E10.5, placental weight, embryo weight, and placental efficiency were higher in 4X versus 1X choline. Higher concentrations of hepatic and placental betaine were detected in 4X versus 1X choline, and placental betaine was positively associated with embryo weight. Placental mRNA expression of Igf1 was downregulated by 4X (versus 1X) choline at E10.5. No differences in fetal growth parameters were detected at E12.5 and 15.5, whereas a small but significant reduction in fetal weight was detected at E18.5 in 4X versus 1X choline. MCS improved fetal growth during early pregnancy in the Dlx3+/− mice with the compensatory downregulation of Igf1 to slow growth as gestation progressed. Placental betaine may be responsible for the growth-promoting effects of choline.


This article originally appeared in Nutrients, available at DOI: 10.3390/nu9070765

© 2017 by the authors.This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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