Donor of choline in biosynthesis of choline-containing phosphoglycerides. Citicoline is an essential intermediate in the biosynthetic pathway of structural phospholipids in cell membranes, particularly phosphatidylcholine. Once absorbed, citicoline is widely distributed throughout the body, crosses the blood-brain barrier and reaches the central nervous system (CNS), where it is incorporated into the membrane and microsomal phospholipid fraction. Citicoline activates biosynthesis of structural phospholipids of neuronal membranes, increases brain metabolism, and acts upon the levels of different neurotransmitters. Thus, citicoline has been experimentally shown to increase norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the CNS. Owing to these pharmacological mechanisms, citicoline has a neuroprotective effect in hypoxic and ischemic conditions, decreasing the volume of ischemic lesion, and also improves learning and memory performance in animal models of brain aging. In addition, citicoline has been shown to restore the activity of mitochondrial ATPase and membrane Na+/K+ATPase, to inhibit activation of certain phospholipases, and to accelerate reabsorption of cerebral edema in various experimental models. Citicoline has also been shown to be able to inhibit mechanisms of apoptosis associated to cerebral ischemia and in certain neurodegeneration models, and to potentiate neuroplasticity mechanisms. Citicoline is a safe drug, as shown by the toxicological tests conducted, that has no significant systemic cholinergic effects and is a well tolerated product. (PMID: 17171187) [HMDB]

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