Main content area

No up-regulation of the phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase pathway and choline production by sex hormones in cats

Valtolina, Chiara, Vaandrager, Arie B., Favier, Robert P., Robben, Joris H., Tuohetahuntila, Maidina, Kummeling, Anne, Jeusette, Isabelle, Rothuizen, Jan
BMC veterinary research 2015 v.11 no.1 pp. 280
biopsy, castration, cats, choline, diet, estrogens, females, humans, liver, males, mice, phosphatidylcholines, phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase, rats, spaying
BACKGROUND: Feline hepatic lipidosis (FHL) is a common cholestatic disease affecting cats of any breed, age and sex. Both choline deficiency and low hepatic phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT) activity are associated with hepatic lipidosis (HL) in humans, mice and rats. The PEMT expression is known to be upregulated by oestrogens, protecting the females in these species from the development of HL when exposed to choline deficient diets. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of sex hormones on choline synthesis via the PEMT pathway in healthy male and female cats before and after spaying/neutering, when fed a diet with recommended dietary choline content. RESULTS: From six female and six male cats PEMT activity was assayed directly in liver biopsies taken before and after spaying/neutering, and assessed indirectly by analyses of PEMT–specific hepatic phosphatidylcholine (PC) species and plasma choline levels. Hepatic PEMT activity did not differ between intact female and male cats and no changes upon spaying/neutering were observed. Likewise, no significant differences in liver PC content and PEMT-specific polyunsaturated PC species were found between the sexes and before or after spaying/neutering. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that choline synthesis in cats differs from what is observed in humans, mice and rats. The lack of evident influence of sex hormones on the PEMT pathway makes it unlikely that spaying/neutering predisposes cats for HL by causing PC deficiency as suggested in other species.