CDP-Choline Benefits: Increased Nerve Conduction Velocity

CDP-choline benefits the brain in numerous ways. It behaves like a prodrug for both choline (and ultimately acetylcholine) and uridine, upregulates dopamine receptors, a now has been shown to facilitate remylination.

The authors of  Pivotal role of choline metabolites in remyelination (2015), published in the February edition of *Brain, *found that CDP-choline promoted myelin regeneration, exerted beneficial effects on oligodendrocytes and axons, and reversed motor coordination deficits in a cuprizone rodent model of demyelinating disease. Cuprizone is a copper chelating agent that kills oligodendrocytes (non-neuronal cells in the brain that support neurons), resulting in reversible demyelination.

Background information on demyelinating disease

cdp choline benefitsThe myelin sheath is an electrically insulating layer that surrounds axons and increases nerve conduction velocity. Myelin has a white appearance and is colloquially referred to as  “white matter.” Myelin allows action potentials to essentially “hop” from one Node of Ranvier to another, increasing the speed at which signals are propagated in the brain. (Nodes of Ranvier are essentially gaps in the myelin sheath.)

Oligodendrocytes myelinate the central nervous system, whereas Schwann cells supply myelin in the peripheral nervous system. Maintaining the integrity of the myelin sheath is absolutely essential to the normal functioning of the brain.

The textbook disease state associated with demyelination is multiple sclerosis (MS), which is characterized by gliosis, inflammation, demyelination, and axonal damage in the CNS. Another pathophysiologically related disease is osmotic demyelination syndrome. ODS is a neurological condition caused by extreme hyponatremia (low sodium) which disrupts the delicate balance of solutes in the brain resulting in severe and rapid destruction of the myelin surrounding axons.

In multiple sclerosis, episodes of auto-immune destruction of myelin disrupts communication between neurons, resulting in neuropsychiatric symptoms ranging from paresthesias to mood instability. The search for potential treatments that might facilitate remyelination has historically been mostly fruitless. However, recent evidence has emerged that the choline derivative CDP-choline enhances remyelination in animal models.

CDP-Choline enhances myelin regeneration and ameliorates the disease course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Dr. Martin Stangel of the Hannover medical school in Germany led researchers to test the hypothesis that CDP-choline directly increases remyelination. Using a cuprizone-induced mouse model of demyelinating disease, his group found that CDP-choline promoted remyelination while exerting beneficial effects on axon and oligodendrocyte morphology. In addition to enhancing myelin formation, CDP-choline also reversed motor coordination deficits.

cdp choline benefits remylination“Effects of CDP-choline on remyelination are dependent on OPC proliferation. Treatment with CDP-choline between Weeks 3–5.5, 4–5, and 4–5.5 increased remyelination as shown by myelin proteolipid protein (PLP) staining (A and C) and numbers of APC positive oligodendrocytes (B and D). No effects were found when CDP-choline treatment was performed between Weeks 3–4 and 5–5.5. These results show that CDP-choline exerts its effects on oligodendrocytes and remyelination in a time window between Weeks 4 and 5 of cuprizone treatment. During this time window OPC proliferate in the corpus callosum in the cuprizone model. Bars represent mean ± SEM, P < 0.05, *P < 0.01, n = 6 per group.”

The authors [1] go on to speculate about potential mechanisms that might underlie CDP-choline’s ability to regenerate myelin:

In the cuprizone model CDP-choline not only increased the numbers of myelinated axons, but the newly formed myelin sheaths were also thicker as compared to cuprizone controls. The effects on remyelination are not mediated via increasing the production of growth factors that are known to have an impact on OPC proliferation. Instead, our results provide a new mechanism of remyelination via the choline metabolism. In the CNS, choline is used for the biosynthesis of acetylcholine and the cell membrane phospholipid phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) (Weiss, 1995; Clement and Kent, 1999; Hunt et al., 2001). In the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine the availability of choline might be limited during pathological conditions in which regenerative processes require more substrate. Thus, exogenously applied CDP-choline is an interesting tool to promote these processes as it disperses in the organism mainly in the form of its degradation products choline and cytidine, which cross easily the blood–brain barrier (Conant and Schauss, 2004; Garcia-Cobos et al., 2010)….In conclusion, our results identified CDP-choline as a drug with remyelination promoting functions with a new mechanism of action. We believe that CDP-choline is a promising substance for multiple sclerosis patients and should be further explored for its regenerative effects in humans.

In summary, CDP-choline both increases the number and thickness of the myelin sheath in the brain. These data also support what many nootropic users have appreciated about choline derivates for years. CDP-Choline is a prodrug for both choline and uridine with procognitive and neurorestorative properties, and is also essential for normal brain development in utero.

[1] Skripuletz T, Manzel A, Gropengießer K, et al. Pivotal role of choline metabolites in remyelination. Brain. 2015;138(Pt 2):398-413.

Where to Buy CDP-Choline

We recommend purchasing CDP-Choline (also known as Citicholine) from Nootropics Depot, due to their superior quality control practices. Other reliable vendors include Ceretropic, LiftMode, NewMind, and PowderCity.


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Xavier Kent

I'm interested in nutrition, nootropics, and javascript. I'm a firm believer in getting really good at one thing.


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