Clinical data
ATC code None
CAS Number 135463-81-9
PubChem (CID) 214346
ChemSpider 185836
Chemical and physical data
Formula C19H23N3O3
Molar mass 341.404 g/mol
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image

Coluracetam (INN) (code name BCI-540; formerly MKC-231) is a nootropic agent of the racetam family.[1] It was initially developed and tested by the Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation for Alzheimer's disease. After the drug failed to reach endpoints in its clinical trials it was in-licensed by BrainCells Inc for investigations into major depressive disorder (MDD), which was preceded by being awarded a "Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Program Grant" by the state of California.[2] Findings from phase IIa clinical trials have suggested that it would be a potential medication for comorbid MDD with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).[3] BrainCells Inc is currently out-licensing the drug for this purpose.[4] It may also have potential use in prevention and treatment of ischemic retinopathy and retinal and optic nerve injury.

Coluracetam has been shown to reverse the loss of choline acetyltransferase production in the medial septal nucleus of rats exposed to phencyclidine (PCP), and is considered a potential therapeutic drug for schizophrenia.[5]

Mechanism of action

Coluracetam enhances high-affinity choline uptake (HACU),[6] which is the rate-limiting step of acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis. Studies have shown coluracetam to improve learning impairment on a single oral dose given to rats which have been exposed to cholinergic neurotoxins. Subsequent studies have shown that it may induce long-lasting procognitive effects in cholinergic neurotoxin-treated rats by changing the choline transporter regulation system.[7]

See also


  1. Bessho, T; Takashina, K; Tabata, R; Ohshima, C; Chaki, H; Yamabe, H; Egawa, M; Tobe, A; Saito, K (1996). "Effect of the novel high affinity choline uptake enhancer 2-(2-oxopyrrolidin-1-yl)-N-(2,3-dimethyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofuro2,3-b quinolin-4-yl)acetoamide on deficits of water maze learning in rats". Arzneimittel-Forschung. 46 (4): 369–73. PMID 8740080.
  2. Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Grants for the State of California,
  3. BrainCells Inc. Announces Results From Exploratory Phase 2a Trial of BCI-540 Archived November 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. [Pipeline,BCI-540], BCI-540 (coluracetam).
  5. Shirayama, Y; Yamamoto, A; Nishimura, T; Katayama, S; Kawahara, R (2007). "Subsequent exposure to the choline uptake enhancer MKC-231 antagonizes phencyclidine-induced behavioral deficits and reduction in septal cholinergic neurons in rats". European Neuropsychopharmacology. 17 (9): 616–26. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2007.02.011. PMID 17467960.
  6. S. Murai; et al. (1994). "MKC-231, a choline uptake enhancer, ameliorates working memory deficits and decreased hippocampal acetylcholine induced by ethylcholine aziridinium ion in mice". Journal of Neural Transmission. 98 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1007/BF01277590.
  7. Bessho, T; Takashina, K; Eguchi, J; Komatsu, T; Saito, K (Jul 2008). "MKC-231, a choline-uptake enhancer: long-lasting cognitive improvement after repeated administration in AF64A-treated rats". Journal of Neural Transmission. 115 (7): 1019–25. doi:10.1007/s00702-008-0053-4. PMID 18461272.
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