The involvement of phosphatidylcholine in the development of hepatic steatosis in children with cystic fibrosis

Alice Chen hopes to achieve a better understanding of what causes liver disease in people with cystic fibrosis (CF). Liver disease – the second most common cause of death for people with CF – may result from depletion of choline (a water soluble B vitamin) in CF patients. An inability to properly absorb phosphatidylcholine (PC), which is found in food such as organ meats and egg yolks, may cause choline depletion and may ultimately lead to accumulation of fat in the liver. To test this hypothesis, Chen is studying a group of 50 children with CF, along with 10 healthy children. She will collect and analyse data from these children to determine if there is a link between difficulty in absorbing PC and liver disease. Chen, whose goal is pursing a career in nutrition research, believes that a better understanding of the causes of liver disease in people with CF is critical for the development of nutrition interventions that could prevent this serious complication.