/koh"leen, kol"een/, n.1. Biochem. a quaternary ammonium cation, C5H14N+O, one of the B-complex vitamins, found in the lecithin of many plants and animals.2. choline hydroxide, C5H15NO2, the viscous, strongly alkaline commercial form of this compound, usually synthesized, used as a feed supplement, esp. for poultry, and in medicine in certain liver conditions.3. choline chloride, C5H14ClNO.[1855-60; CHOL- + -INE2]
* * *Organic compound related to vitamins in its activity.It is important in metabolism as a component of the lipids that make up cell membranes and of acetylcholine. It is also important as a source of chemical raw materials for cells and in transport of fats from the liver. It is usually classified with the B vitamins (see vitamin B complex) because it resembles them in function and in its distribution in foods. In humans it is interconvertible with certain other compounds, such as methionine, so deficiency does not lead to disease, but some other animals need it in their diet. Choline has various uses in medicine, nutrition, and the processing of foods and feeds.
* * *a nitrogen-containing alcohol related to the vitamins in activity. It is apparently an essential nutrient for a number of microorganisms and higher animals (including some birds) and is also important in metabolic processes in other animals, including humans.Choline has several important functions. It is a constituent of an important class of lipids (fats) called phospholipids (phospholipid) (e.g., lecithin), which form structural elements of cell membranes. It is also a component of acetylcholine, which is important in nerve function. Choline serves as a source of the methyl groups (−CH3 groups), which are required in various metabolic processes, and it functions in the transport of fats from the liver.Choline, which is usually classified with the B vitamins because of similarities in function and in distribution in foods, is abundant in wheat germ, soybean oil, egg yolk, and nervous and glandular tissues.Choline-deficient animals suffer from hemorrhagic kidneys and excessive deposition of fat in the liver. These effects can be alleviated by adding to the diet compounds that can be changed into choline—e.g., proteins containing the amino acid methionine.
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