Choline flux in human erythrocytes

R. S. Jope, S. M. Wright, D. J. Jenden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The concentration of choline in 34 samples of normal human erythrocytes varied between 4 and 66 μM with a mean of 23 μM. Erythrocytes from lithium-free patients with affective disorders had increased choline concentrations (mean = 81 μM, n = 14). Patients with Huntington's disease (n = 2), Friedreich's ataxia (n = 11), and three of four patients with SDAT (n = 4) had normal distributions of erythrocyte choline concentrations. The mean plasma choline concentration in normals was 10.4 μM and was not different in the three diseases examined. The rates of choline uptake, choline export, and choline release from lipids were measured in erythrocytes from controls and patients. In controls, the influx and efflux of choline generally varied inversely to the intracellular choline concentration. There was a significant increase in the influx of Ch into erythrocytes from patients with Alzheimer's disease, while flux in other diseases did not vary from controls. Lithium, an accepted treatment for mania, increased erythrocyte choline concentrations in vivo by more than 10-fold. This was probably due to inhibition of choline transport resulting in accumulation of choline from the intracellular breakdown of lipids. These results provide a foundation for comparing choline metabolism and transport in erythrocytes from normal subjects and from patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, and raise the possibility that abnormalities associated with the cholinergic system may be detectable in the blood of patients with certain disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-680
Number of pages7
JournalPsychopharmacology bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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