The effects of the arginine salt of pyroglutamic acid (2-oxo-pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, PCA) on learning and memory capacities of old rats were studied in a subchronic treatment schedule (i.p. injection of 0.1 and 1 g/kg/day for 15 days). The acquisition and extinction of active avoidance behaviour were studied in a pole-jumping test situation. The retention of passive avoidance response was examined in a step-through passive avoidance task. PCA facilitated the rate of acquisition of pole-jumping response, and inhibited the extinction of the response. The dose of 1 g/kg was more potent than 0.1 g/kg in this respect. Also in the passive avoidance task, the treatment with PCA was followed by an improvement of avoidance retention. These results indicate that PCA is a behaviourally active compound in that it improves learning and memory capacities in old rat.