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PubChem CID
E number{{#property:P628}}
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Chemical and physical data
Molar mass308.374
3D model (JSmol)

GTS-21 (DMXB-A) is a drug which acts as a partial agonist at neural nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. It binds to both the α4β2 and α7 subtypes, but only activates the α7 to any significant extent.[1][2]

Both GTS-21 itself and its demethylated active metabolite 4-OH-GTS-21[3] display nootropic[4] and neuroprotective effects,[5][6][7][8] and GTS-21 is being investigated for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease,[9] nicotine dependence,[10] and most importantly for schizophrenia.[11][12][13][14][15]



  1. Briggs CA, Anderson DJ, Brioni JD, Buccafusco JJ, Buckley MJ, Campbell JE, Decker MW, Donnelly-Roberts D, Elliott RL, Gopalakrishnan M, Holladay MW, Hui YH, Jackson WJ, Kim DJ, Marsh KC, O'Neill A, Prendergast MA, Ryther KB, Sullivan JP, Arneric SP. Functional characterization of the novel neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ligand GTS-21 in vitro and in vivo. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour. 1997 May-Jun;57(1-2):231-41. PMID 9164577
  2. Meyer EM, Tay ET, Papke RL, Meyers C, Huang GL, de Fiebre CM. 3-[2,4-Dimethoxybenzylidene]anabaseine (DMXB) selectively activates rat alpha7 receptors and improves memory-related behaviors in a mecamylamine-sensitive manner. Brain Research. 1997 Sep 12;768(1-2):49-56. PMID 9369300
  3. Meyer EM, Kuryatov A, Gerzanich V, Lindstrom J, Papke RL. Analysis of 3-(4-hydroxy, 2-Methoxybenzylidene)anabaseine selectivity and activity at human and rat alpha-7 nicotinic receptors. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 1998 Dec;287(3):918-25. PMID 9864273
  4. Kitagawa H, Takenouchi T, Azuma R, Wesnes KA, Kramer WG, Clody DE, Burnett AL. Safety, pharmacokinetics, and effects on cognitive function of multiple doses of GTS-21 in healthy, male volunteers. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003 Mar;28(3):542-51. PMID 12629535
  5. Meyer EM, King MA, Meyers C. Neuroprotective effects of 2,4-dimethoxybenzylidene anabaseine (DMXB) and tetrahydroaminoacridine (THA) in neocortices of nucleus basalis lesioned rats. Brain Research. 1998 Mar 9;786(1-2):252-4. PMID 9555043
  6. Shimohama S, Greenwald DL, Shafron DH, Akaika A, Maeda T, Kaneko S, Kimura J, Simpkins CE, Day AL, Meyer EM. Nicotinic alpha 7 receptors protect against glutamate neurotoxicity and neuronal ischemic damage. Brain Research. 1998 Jan 1;779(1-2):359-63. PMID 9473725
  7. Li Y, Meyer EM, Walker DW, Millard WJ, He YJ, King MA. Alpha7 nicotinic receptor activation inhibits ethanol-induced mitochondrial dysfunction, cytochrome c release and neurotoxicity in primary rat hippocampal neuronal cultures. Journal of Neurochemistry. 2002 May;81(4):853-8. PMID 12065644
  8. de Fiebre NC, de Fiebre CM. Alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-mediated protection against ethanol-induced neurotoxicity. Alcohol. 2003 Nov;31(3):149-53. PMID 14693263
  9. Kem WR. The brain alpha7 nicotinic receptor may be an important therapeutic target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease: studies with DMXBA (GTS-21). Behavioural Brain Research. 2000 Aug;113(1-2):169-81. PMID 10942043
  10. Foulds J, Burke M, Steinberg M, Williams JM, Ziedonis DM. Advances in pharmacotherapy for tobacco dependence. Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs. 2004 May;9(1):39-53. PMID 15155135
  11. Simosky JK, Stevens KE, Freedman R. Nicotinic agonists and psychosis. Current Drug Targets. CNS and Neurological Disorders. 2002 Apr;1(2):149-62. PMID 12769624
  12. Martin LF, Kem WR, Freedman R. Alpha-7 nicotinic receptor agonists: potential new candidates for the treatment of schizophrenia. Psychopharmacology (Berlin). 2004 Jun;174(1):54-64. PMID 15205879
  13. Olincy A, Harris JG, Johnson LL, Pender V, Kongs S, Allensworth D, Ellis J, Zerbe GO, Leonard S, Stevens KE, Stevens JO, Martin L, Adler LE, Soti F, Kem WR, Freedman R. Proof-of-concept trial of an alpha7 nicotinic agonist in schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;63(6):630-8. PMID 16754836
  14. Olincy A, Stevens KE. Treating schizophrenia symptoms with an alpha7 nicotinic agonist, from mice to men. Biochemical Pharmacology. 2007 Oct 15;74(8):1192-201. PMID 17714692
  15. Freedman R, Olincy A, Buchanan RW, Harris JG, Gold JM, Johnson L, Allensworth D, Guzman-Bonilla A, Clement B, Ball MP, Kutnick J, Pender V, Martin LF, Stevens KE, Wagner BD, Zerbe GO, Soti F, Kem WR. Initial Phase 2 Trial of a Nicotinic Agonist in Schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2008 Apr 1. [Epub ahead of print] PMID 18381905