Psychopharmacology

, Volume 161, Issue 3, pp 248–254 | Cite as

Chronic citicoline increases phosphodiesters in the brains of healthy older subjects: an in vivo phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy study

  •  S. Babb
  •  L. Wald
  •  B. Cohen
  •  R. Villafuerte
  •  S. Gruber
  •  D. Yurgelun-Todd
  •  P. Renshaw
Original Investigation

Abstract.

Rationale: Phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) in brain cell membranes decreases with age. Evidence from both animal and in vitro studies indicates that CDP-choline (citicoline) administration may increase phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) synthesis and might reverse PtdCho loss. Objectives: We investigated whether oral citicoline can increase PtdCho synthesis in the brains of older subjects by measuring levels of phosphorus-containing metabolites using proton-decoupled phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-MRS) before and after citicoline treatment. Methods: All subjects took 500 mg citicoline once orally each day for 6 weeks, then took either citicoline or placebo once orally per day for a second 6-week period. Subjects underwent a 31P-MRS scan at baseline and following 6 and 12 weeks of treatment. Results: Treatment with citicoline for 6 weeks was associated with a 7.3% increase from baseline levels in brain phosphodiesters (P=0.008), including an 11.6% increase in glycerophosphoethanolamine (P=0.002) and a 5.1% increase in glycerophosphocholine (P=0.137). Subjects who continued to take citicoline for the second 6-week period did not show significant additional increases in the levels of these metabolites. No changes were seen in other phosphorus-containing metabolites. There was a correlation between improvement on the California Verbal Learning Test and increase in phosphodiesters. Conclusions: The increases in phosphodiesters seen in this study indicate that phospholipid synthesis and turnover were stimulated by 6 weeks of oral citicoline. These results in humans support previous in vitro and animal studies and suggest that the administration of oral citicoline may be of use in reversing age-related changes in the brain.

5′-Cytidine diphosphate choline Choline Phosphatidylcholine Aging Brain Magnetic resonance spectroscopy 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  •  S. Babb
    • 1
  •  L. Wald
    • 2
  •  B. Cohen
    • 1
  •  R. Villafuerte
    • 1
  •  S. Gruber
    • 1
  •  D. Yurgelun-Todd
    • 1
  •  P. Renshaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Brain Imaging Center, McLean Hospital, 115 Mill St., Belmont, MA 02478, USA
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, MGH-NMR Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, 49 13th St, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA

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