Coluracetam (MKC-231) is a racetam that putatively enhances cognition. Its mechanism of action appears to be very different from other racetam compounds like Piracetam or Aniracetam. Coluracetam increases the uptake of choline into neurons.
Coluracetam promotes a process called high affinity choline uptake (HACU for short). HACU is the rate-limiting step of drawing choline into a neuron for synthesis to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is implicated in learning and memory. Acetycholinerestase inhibitors are used in Alzheimer’s patients to increase the activity of acetylcholine, which rescues some memory impairments.
Likewise, coluracetam’s nootropic effects stem from its ability to enhance high-affinity choline uptake.
Interventions in rats (as there’s limited human evidence currently) support the use of coluracetam in low oral doses to preserve HACU that is otherwise impaired from the use of research drugs that are proven to impaire HACU.
Coluracetam has also been noted to physically interact with choline transporters.
Additional studies are needed to see if rescuing HACU in instances where HACU might be impaired (like Alzheimer’s disease) is therapeutic.