The pharmacological properties of MKC-231 (2-(2-oxopyrrolidin-1-yl)-N- (2,3-dimethyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofuro[2,3-b]quinolin-4-yl) acetoamide, CAS 135463-81-9) in comparison with an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor, tacrine (CAS 1684-40-8) were studied. MKC-231(10(-10)-10(-6) moll) significantly increased high affinity choline uptake (HACU) when it was incubated with the hippocampal synaptosomes of ethylcholine mustard aziridinium ion (AF64A) treated rats, but not of normal rats. MKC-231 did not affect the AChE activity, [3H]- quinuclidinyl benzilate binding, and [3H]-pirenzepine binding. Oral administration of MKC-231 (1-10 mg/kg) significantly improved the learning deficits in the Morris' water maze of AF64A-treated rats, but it did not produce any significant side effects, like tremor, salivation or hypothermia, which were observed in rats treated with high doses of tacrine. Tacrine (0.1-3 mg/kg p.o.) failed to ameliorate the learning deficits in AF64A-treated rats. These results suggest that MKC-231 is a novel and quite unique compound, which improves the memory impairment induced by AF64A through the enhancement of HACU without any side effects at the effective doses.