Protein kinase C (PKC) activity was measured in soluble and particulate fractions of rat individual brain areas after treatment with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC), a cognition-enhancing drug which promotes acetylcholine synthesis and release. The drug induced both in vivo and in vitro PKC translocation. In vivo, an increase of particulate PKC activity was observed 1 hour following the acute oral administration of a behaviorally active dose (600 mg/kg); the effect was transient. In vitro, GPC promoted PKC translocation in cortical slices at concentrations as low as 50 nM; the concentration-response curve was bell shaped. The increased PKC activity may be related to the cortical effects of GPC.