Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is characterized by excessive placental fat and glucose transport, resulting in fetal overgrowth. Earlier we demonstrated that maternal choline supplementation normalizes fetal growth in GDM mice at mid-gestation. In this study, we further assess how choline and its oxidation product betaine influence determinants of placental nutrient transport in GDM mice and human trophoblasts. C57BL/6J mice were fed a high-fat (HF) diet 4 weeks prior to and during pregnancy to induce GDM or fed a control normal fat (NF) diet. The HF mice also received 25 mM choline, 85 mM betaine, or control drinking water. We observed that GDM mice had an expanded placental junctional zone with an increased area of glycogen cells, while the thickness of the placental labyrinth zone was decreased at E17.5 compared to NF control mice (p < 0.05). Choline and betaine supplementation alleviated these morphological changes in GDM placentas. In parallel, both choline and betaine supplementation significantly reduced glucose accretion (p < 0.05) in in vitro assays where the human choriocarcinoma BeWo cells were cultured in high (35.5 mM) or normal (5.5 mM) glucose conditions. Expression of angiogenic genes was minimally altered by choline or betaine supplementation in either model. In conclusion, both choline and betaine modified some but not all determinants of placental transport in response to hyperglycemia in mouse and in vitro human cell line models.


This article was originally published in Nutrients, available at DOI:10.3390/nu10101507.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.