Abstract The search for non-toxic radio-protective drugs has yielded many potential agents but most of these compounds have certain amount of toxicity. Recent studies have indicated that bio-molecules such as folate and choline might be of radio-protective value as they are, within broad dose ranges, non-toxic to humans and experimental animals. The objective of the present study was to investigate choline dependent adaptive response to potential synergistic cytotoxic effect of folate deficiency and γ-radiation. Male Swiss mice maintained on folate sufficient diet (FSD) and folate free diet (FFD) based on AIN-93 M formula, were subjected to 1–4 Gy total body γ-irradiation. To investigate liver DNA damage, apurinic/apyrimidinic sites (AP sites) were quantified. A significant increase in liver DNA AP sites with concomitant depletion of liver choline reserves was observed when γ-radiation was combined with folate deficiency. Further work in this direction suggested that cytotoxic interaction between folate deficiency and gamma radiation might induce utilization of choline and choline containing moieties by modifying levels of key regulatory enzymes dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and choline oxidase (ChoOx). Another major finding of these studies is that significant liver damage at higher doses of radiation (3–4 Gy), might release considerable amounts of choline reserves to serum. In conclusion, a plausible interpretation of the present studies is that folate deprivation and γ-radiation interact to mobilize additional choline reserves of hepatic tissue, for redistribution to other organs, which could not be utilized by folate deficiency alone. Present results clearly indicated a distinct choline pool in liver and kidney tissues that could be utilized by folate deficient animals only under radiation stress conditions.