Various synthetic derivatives of natural flavonoids are known to have neuroactive properties. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of vitexin (5, 7, 4-trihydroxyflavone-8-glucoside), a flavonoid found in such plants as tartary buckwheat sprouts, wheat leaves phenolome, Mimosa pudica Linn and Passiflora spp, on scopolamine-induced memory impairment in rats. To achieve this goal, we assessed the effects of vitexin on memory retrieval in the presence or absence of scopolamine using a step-through passive avoidance trial. In the first part of the study, vitexin (25, 50, and 100 microM) was administered intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) before acquisition trials. In the second part, vitexin, at the same doses, was administered before scopolamine (10 microg, i.c.v.) and before the acquisition trials. During retention tests, vitexin (100 microM) in the absence of scopolamine significantly increased the step-through latencies compared to scopolamine. In addition, vitexin (100 microM) significantly reversed the shorter step-through latencies induced by scopolamine (P < 0.05). These results indicate that vitexin has a potential role in enhancing memory retrieval. A possible mechanism is modulation of cholinergic receptors; however, other mechanisms may be involved in its effects in acute exposure.