Choline transporters, cholinergic transmission and cognition

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 Jan;6(1):48-56. doi: 10.1038/nrn1588.


Cholinergic projections to the cortex and hippocampus mediate fundamental cognitive processes. The capacity of the high-affinity choline uptake transporter (CHT) to import choline from the extracellular space to presynaptic terminals is essential for normal acetylcholine synthesis and therefore cholinergic transmission. The CHT is highly regulated, and the cellular mechanisms that modulate its capacity show considerable plasticity. Recent evidence links changes in CHT capacity with the ability to perform tasks that tax attentional processes and capacities. Abnormal regulation of CHT capacity might contribute to the cognitive impairments that are associated with neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Therefore, the CHT might represent a productive target for the development of new pharmacological treatments for these conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choline / metabolism*
  • Choline / physiology
  • Cholinergic Fibers / drug effects
  • Cholinergic Fibers / metabolism*
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / agonists
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • choline transporter
  • Choline