School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



Hepatic steatosis is a hallmark feature of kwashiorkor malnutrition. However, the pathogenesis of hepatic steatosis in kwashiorkor is uncertain. Our objective was to develop a mouse model of childhood undernutrition in order to test the hypothesis that feeding a maize vegetable diet (MVD), like that consumed by children at risk for kwashiorkor, will cause hepatic steatosis which is prevented by supplementation with choline. A MVD was developed with locally sourced organic ingredients, and fed to weanling mice (n = 9) for 6 or 13 days. An additional group of mice (n = 4) were fed a choline supplemented MVD. Weight, body composition, and liver changes were compared to control mice (n = 10) at the beginning and end of the study. The MVD resulted in reduced weight gain and hepatic steatosis. Choline supplementation prevented hepatic steatosis and was associated with increased hepatic concentrations of the methyl donor betaine. Our findings show that (1) feeding a MVD to weanling mice rapidly induces hepatic steatosis, which is a hallmark disturbance of kwashiorkor; and that (2) hepatic steatosis associated with feeding a MVD is prevented by choline supplementation. These findings support the concept that insufficient choline intake may contribute to the pathogenesis of hepatic steatosis in kwashiorkor.


Original published version available at

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title




Academic Level

medical student



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.