Resveratrol (3,5,4-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene), which is found in grapes and red wine has been shown to protect neuronal cells with its antioxidant activity, improve memory function in dementia and reverse acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of resveratrol on emotional and spatial memory in naive rats, as well as on scopolamine- and mecamylamine-induced memory impairment in the passive avoidance and Morris water maze (MWM) tests. Resveratrol (12.5, 25 and 50 mg/kg), scopolamine (0.6 mg/kg) and mecamylamine (10 mg/kg) were administered to male Wistar rats. In the passive avoidance test, there was no significant difference in the first day latency between all groups, whereas scopolamine and mecamylamine significantly shortened the second day latency compared to the control group. Resveratrol reversed the effect of scopolamine at all doses used, but it had no effect on mecamylamine-induced memory impairment in the passive avoidance test. Both scopolamine and mecamylamine significantly decreased the time spent in the escape platform quadrant during the probe trial of the MWM test compared to the control group. Resveratrol reversed the effect of scopolamine at all doses, but did not change the effect of mecamylamine in the MWM test. There were no significant differences in the locomotor activities of any of the groups. In conclusion, we suggested that resveratrol had improving effects on learning and memory by acting on muscarinic cholinergic receptors and at least in part, may reverse AChE activity. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.