Choline Ameliorates Disease Phenotypes in Human iPSC Models of Rett Syndrome. Academic Article uri icon


  • Rett syndrome (RTT) is a postnatal neurodevelopmental disorder that primarily affects girls. Mutations in the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene account for approximately 95 % of all RTT cases. To model RTT in vitro, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from fibroblasts of two RTT patients with different mutations (MECP2 (R306C) and MECP2 (1155?32)) in their MECP2 gene. We found that these iPSCs were capable of differentiating into functional neurons. Compared to control neurons, the RTT iPSC-derived cells had reduced soma size and a decreased amount of synaptic input, evident both as fewer Synapsin 1-positive puncta and a lower frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents. Supplementation of the culture media with choline rescued all of these defects. Choline supplementation may act through changes in the expression of choline acetyltransferase, an important enzyme in cholinergic signaling, and also through alterations in the lipid metabolite profiles of the RTT neurons. Our study elucidates the possible mechanistic pathways for the effect of choline on human RTT cell models, thereby illustrating the potential for using choline as a nutraceutical to treat RTT.

publication date

  • September 2016