Citicoline: update on a promising and widely available agent for neuroprotection and neurorepair

Rev Neurol Dis. Fall 2008;5(4):167-77.


Choline precursors promote repair and growth of cell membranes and hold promise in a variety of neurologic diseases, including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Citicoline, the most well-studied choline agent precursor, is widely prescribed throughout the world and recently became available in the United States as a dietary supplement. In experimental stroke models, citicoline conferred acute neuroprotection and enhanced neuroplasticity and neurorepair in the subacute period. Although individual human stroke trials have been inconclusive, meta-analysis of 10 trials enrolling 2279 patients suggests patients receiving citicoline had substantially reduced frequencies of death and disability. Reinvestigation of citicoline with modern neuroimaging and clinical trial methods are underway and will provide more definitive information regarding the mechanistic and clinical effects of this promising neurotherapeutic agent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / drug therapy
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline / pharmacology
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline / therapeutic use*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Glaucoma / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Stroke / drug therapy*


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Phospholipids
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline
  • Acetylcholine
  • Dopamine