Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy

NMR Biomed. 2008 Nov;21(10):1066-75. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1281.


Citicoline supplementation has been used to ameliorate memory disturbances in older people and those with Alzheimer's disease. This study used MRS to characterize the effects of citicoline on high-energy phosphate metabolites and constituents of membrane synthesis in the frontal lobe. Phosphorus ((31)P) metabolite data were acquired using a three-dimensional chemical-shift imaging protocol at 4 T from 16 healthy men and women (mean +/- SD age 47.3 +/- 5.4 years) who orally self-administered 500 mg or 2000 mg Cognizin Citicoline (Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd, Ibaraki, Japan) for 6 weeks. Individual (31)P metabolites were quantified in the frontal lobe (anterior cingulate cortex) and a comparison region (parieto-occipital cortex). Significant increases in phosphocreatine (+7%), beta-nucleoside triphosphates (largely ATP in brain, +14%) and the ratio of phosphocreatine to inorganic phosphate (+32%), as well as significant changes in membrane phospholipids, were observed in the anterior cingulate cortex after 6 weeks of citicoline treatment. These treatment-related alterations in phosphorus metabolites were not only regionally specific, but tended to be of greater magnitude in subjects who received the lower dose. These data show that citicoline improves frontal lobe bioenergetics and alters phospholipid membrane turnover. Citicoline supplementation may therefore help to mitigate cognitive declines associated with aging by increasing energy reserves and utilization, as well as increasing the amount of essential phospholipid membrane components needed to synthesize and maintain cell membranes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / drug effects*
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nootropic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Phosphorus / analysis*


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Phosphorus
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline