Recent evidence suggests that the activation of the Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signal transduction pathway may be important in neuronal responses to stresses such as trophic factor deprivation. Preventing the activation of JNK and expression of c-Jun may, therefore, be neuroprotective. Here, we report that the small molecule CEP-1347, which has been shown to inhibit the JNK signalling pathway, promotes cholinergic activity in cultured embryonic septal neurones. In vivo, we have shown that CEP-1347, administered either by sub-cutaneous (s.c.) injection or by continuous infusion, is partially neuroprotective, for cholinergic neurones in the medial septum, following fimbria-fornix transection. These data suggest that small molecules such as CEP-1347 may have beneficial effects in treating neurodegenerative diseases.