Effect of a new cognition enhancer, alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, on scopolamine-induced amnesia and brain acetylcholine

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1991 Aug;39(4):835-40. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(91)90040-9.


The present study investigates the effect of the administration of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (alpha-GPC) on scopolamine-induced amnesia and on brain acetylcholine (ACh) levels and release in rats. The results indicate that alpha-GPC, when administered orally, reverses the amnesia caused by scopolamine in passive avoidance. The peak effect is observed using 600 mg/kg IG, 5 h before training. The effect of the drug is long lasting (up 30 h) in accordance with its pharmacokinetic characteristics. Since, alpha-GPC administered IG is cleaved within the gut mucosal cells to glycerophosphate and free choline, it is tempting to speculate that this drug acts by increasing the ACh precursor pool. This view is supported also by the observation that alpha-GPC partially counteracts the decrease of brain ACh levels elicited by scopolamine administration. The effect is observed in the hippocampus and cortex, but not in the striatum. Moreover, in ex vivo experiments, alpha-GPC is able to increase the amount of ACh released by rat hippocampus slices following potassium stimulation.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism*
  • Amnesia / chemically induced
  • Amnesia / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / drug effects
  • Potassium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Scopolamine*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects


  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Scopolamine
  • Acetylcholine