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1.  Partial Agonists for A3 Adenosine Receptors 
Selective agonists for A3 adenosine receptors (ARs) could potentially be therapeutic agents for a variety of disorders, including brain and heart ischemic conditions, while partial agonists may have advantages over full agonists as a result of an increased selectivity of action. A number of structural determinants for A3AR activation have recently been identified, including the N6-benzyl group, methanocarba substitution of ribose, 2-chloro and 2-fluoro substituents, various 2’- and 3’-substitutions and 4’-thio substitution of oxygen. The 2-chloro substitution of CPA and R-PIA led to A3 antagonism (CCPA) and partial agonism (Cl-R-PIA). 2-Chloroadenosine was a full agonist, while 2-fluoroadenosine was a partial agonist. Both 2’- and 3’- substitutions have a pronounced effect on its efficacy, although the effect of 2’-substitution was more dramatic. The 4-thio substitution of oxygen may also diminish efficacy, depending on other substitutions. Both N6-methyl and N6-benzyl groups may contribute to the A3 affinity and selectivity; however, an N6-benzyl group but not an N6-methyl group diminishes A3AR efficacy. N6-benzyl substituted adenosine derivatives have similar potency for human and rat A3ARS while N6-methyl substitution was preferable for the human A3AR. The combination of 2-chloro and N6-benzyl substitutions appeared to reduce efficacy further than either modification alone. The A2AAR agonist DPMA was shown to be an antagonist for the human A3AR. Thus, the efficacy of adenosine derivatives at the A3AR appears to be more sensitive to small structural changes than at other subtypes. Potent and selective partial agonists for the A3AR could be identified by screening known adenosine derivatives and by modifying adenosine and the adenosine derivatives.
PMCID: PMC3425644  PMID: 15078216
2.  ADENOSINE RECEPTORS AS TARGETS FOR THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION IN ASTHMA AND CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE 
Trends in pharmacological sciences  2009;30(10):528-535.
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are pulmonary disorders characterized by various degrees of inflammation and tissue remodeling. Adenosine is a signaling molecule that is elevated in the lungs of patients with asthma and COPD. Adenosine elicits its actions by engaging cell surface adenosine receptors, and substantial preclinical evidence suggests that targeting these receptors will provide novel approaches for the treatment of asthma and COPD. Studies in animal models of airway disease suggest that there may be clinical benefit to the use of A1, A3 and A2B adenosine receptor antagonists in the treatment of features of asthma and/or COPD, while A2A agonists may also prove effective. Several adenosine receptor based pharmacologic agents have entered clinical development for the treatment of asthma and COPD; however, the studies have been limited and the efficacy of such approaches is not yet clear.
doi:10.1016/j.tips.2009.07.005
PMCID: PMC2778268  PMID: 19762093
respiratory diseases; COPD; asthma; fibrosis; G-Protein coupled receptors; inflammation
3.  Adenosine and Stroke: Maximizing the Therapeutic Potential of Adenosine as a Prophylactic and Acute Neuroprotectant 
Current Neuropharmacology  2009;7(3):217-227.
Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Despite intensive research into the development of treatments that lessen the severity of cerebrovascular injury, no major therapies exist. Though the potential use of adenosine as a neuroprotective agent in the context of stroke has long been realized, there are currently no adenosine-based therapies for the treatment of cerebral ischemia and reperfusion. One of the major obstacles to developing adenosine-based therapies for the treatment of stroke is the prevalence of functional adenosine receptors outside the central nervous system. The activities of peripheral immune and vascular endothelial cells are particularly vulnerable to modulation via adenosine receptors. Many of the pathophysiological processes in stroke are a direct result of peripheral immune infiltration into the brain. Ischemic preconditioning, which can be induced by a number of stimuli, has emerged as a promising area of focus in the development of stroke therapeutics. Reprogramming of the brain and immune responses to adenosine signaling may be an underlying principle of tolerance to cerebral ischemia. Insight into the role of adenosine in various preconditioning paradigms may lead to new uses for adenosine as both an acute and prophylactic neuroprotectant.
doi:10.2174/157015909789152209
PMCID: PMC2769005  PMID: 20190963
Adenosine; adenosine receptors; cerebral ischemia; neuroprotection; preconditioning; stroke; treatment.
4.  Novel allosteric agonists of M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors induce brain region-specific responses that correspond with behavioral effects in animal models 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2012;32(25):8532-8544.
M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) represent a viable target for treatment of multiple disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) including Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. The recent discovery of highly selective allosteric agonists of M1 receptors has provided a major breakthrough in developing a viable approach for discovery of novel therapeutic agents that target these receptors. Here, we describe the characterization of two novel M1 allosteric agonists VU0357017 and VU0364572 that display profound differences in their efficacy in activating M1 coupling to different signaling pathways including Ca++ and β-arrestin responses. Interestingly, the ability of these agents to differentially activate coupling of M1 to specific signaling pathways leads to selective actions on some but not all M1-mediated responses in brain circuits. These novel M1 allosteric agonists induced robust electrophysiological effects in rat hippocampal slices but showed lower efficacy in striatum and no measureable effects on M1-mediated responses in medial prefrontal cortical pyramidal cells in mice. Consistent with these actions, both M1 agonists enhanced acquisition of hippocampal-dependent cognitive function but did not reverse amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion in rats. Together, these data reveal that M1 allosteric agonists can differentially regulate coupling of M1 to different signaling pathways and this can dramatically alter the actions of these compounds on specific brain circuits important for learning and memory and psychosis.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0337-12.2012
PMCID: PMC3398407  PMID: 22723693
5.  Adenosine receptors as drug targets — what are the challenges? 
Nature reviews. Drug discovery  2013;12(4):265-286.
Adenosine signalling has long been a target for drug development, with adenosine itself or its derivatives being used clinically since the 1940s. In addition, methylxanthines such as caffeine have profound biological effects as antagonists at adenosine receptors. Moreover, drugs such as dipyridamole and methotrexate act by enhancing the activation of adenosine receptors. There is strong evidence that adenosine has a functional role in many diseases, and several pharmacological compounds specifically targeting individual adenosine receptors — either directly or indirectly — have now entered the clinic. However, only one adenosine receptor-specific agent — the adenosine A2A receptor agonist regadenoson (Lexiscan; Astellas Pharma) — has so far gained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here, we focus on the biology of adenosine signalling to identify hurdles in the development of additional pharmacological compounds targeting adenosine receptors and discuss strategies to overcome these challenges.
doi:10.1038/nrd3955
PMCID: PMC3930074  PMID: 23535933
6.  Adenosine A3 receptor stimulation and cerebral ischemia 
European journal of pharmacology  1994;263(1-2):59-67.
Chronic treatment with the selective adenosine A3 receptor agonist N6-(3-iodobenzyl)adenosine-5’-N-methylcarboxamide (IB-MECA) administered prior to either 10 or 20 min forebrain ischemia in gerbils resulted in improved postischemic cerebral blood circulation, survival, and neuronal preservation. Opposite effects, i.e., impaired postischemic blood flow, enhanced mortality, and extensive neuronal destruction in the hippocampus were seen when IB-MECA was given acutely. Neither adenosine A1 nor A2 receptors are involved in these actions. The data indicate that stimulation of adenosine A3 receptors may play an important role in the development of ischemic damage, and that adenosine A3 receptors may offer a new target for therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3426360  PMID: 7821362
Adenosine receptor; Brain ischemia; therapy; Cerebral blood flow; (Gerbil)
7.  Pharmacological and Therapeutic Effects of A3 Adenosine Receptor (A3AR) Agonists 
Drug Discovery Today  2011;17(7-8):359-366.
The Gi-coupled A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR) mediates anti-inflammatory, anticancer and anti-ischemic protective effects. The receptor is overexpressed in inflammatory and cancer cells, while low expression is found in normal cells, rendering the A3AR as a potential therapeutic target. Highly selective A3AR agonists have been synthesized and molecular recognition in the binding site has been characterized. The present review summarizes preclinical and clinical human studies demonstrating that A3AR agonists induce specific anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects via a molecular mechanism that entails modulation of the Wnt and the NF-κB signal transduction pathways. Currently, A3AR agonists are being developed for the treatment of inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis; ophthalmic diseases such as dry eye syndrome and glaucoma; liver diseases such as hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatitis.
doi:10.1016/j.drudis.2011.10.007
PMCID: PMC3289754  PMID: 22033198
G protein-coupled receptor; nucleoside; cancer; inflammation; ischemia
8.  Adverse and Protective Influences of Adenosine on the Newborn and Embryo: Implications for Preterm White Matter Injury and Embryo Protection 
Pediatric research  2011;69(4):271-278.
Few signaling molecules have the potential to influence the developing mammal as the nucleoside adenosine. Adenosine levels increase rapidly with tissue hypoxia and inflammation. Adenosine antagonists include the methlyxanthines caffeine and theophylline. The receptors that transduce adenosine action are the A1, A2a, A2b, and A3 adenosine receptors (ARs). In the postnatal period, A1AR activation may contribute to white matter injury in the preterm infant by altering oligodendrocyte (OL) development. In models of perinatal brain injury, caffeine is neuroprotective against periventricular white matter injury (PWMI) and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Supporting the notion that blockade of adenosine action is of benefit in the premature infant, caffeine reduces the incidence of broncho-pulmonary dysplasia and cerebral palsy in clinical studies. In comparison with the adverse effects on the postnatal brain, adenosine acts via A1ARs to play an essential role in protecting the embryo from hypoxia. Embryo protective effects are blocked by caffeine, and caffeine intake during early pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and fetal growth retardation. Adenosine and adenosine antagonists play important modulatory roles during mammalian development. The protective and deleterious effects of adenosine depend on the time of exposure and target sites of action.
doi:10.1203/PDR.0b013e31820efbcf
PMCID: PMC3100210  PMID: 21228731
9.  Targeting of Adenosine Receptors in Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury 
Importance of the field
Ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury is a common clinical problem after transplantation as well as myocardial infarction and stroke. IR initiates an inflammatory response leading to rapid tissue damage. Adenosine, produced in response to IR, is generally considered as a protective signaling molecule and elicits its physiological responses through four distinct adenosine receptors. The short half-life, lack of specificity, and rapid metabolism limits the use of adenosine as a therapeutic agent. Thus intense research efforts have focused on the synthesis and implementation of specific adenosine receptor agonists and antagonists as potential therapeutic agents for a variety of inflammatory conditions including IR injury.
Areas covered by this review
This review summarizes current knowledge on IR injury with a focus on lung, heart, and kidney, and examines studies that have advanced our understanding of the role of adenosine receptors and the therapeutic potential of adenosine receptor agonists and antagonists for the prevention of IR injury.
What the reader will gain
The reader will gain insight into the role of adenosine receptor signaling in IR injury.
Take home message
No clinical therapies are currently available that specifically target IR injury; however, targeting of specific adenosine receptors may offer therapeutic strategies in this regard.
doi:10.1517/14728222.2011.541441
PMCID: PMC3075429  PMID: 21110787
inflammation; innate immunity; therapeutic targets; transplantation; preconditioning
10.  Postischemic administration of adenosine amine congener (ADAC): analysis of recovery in gerbils 
European journal of pharmacology  1996;316(2-3):171-179.
Although adenosine receptor-based treatment of cerebral ischemia and other neurodegenerative disorders has been frequently advocated, cardiovascular side effects and an uncertain therapeutic time window of such treatment have constituted major obstacles to clinical implementation. Therefore, we have investigated the neuroprotective effects of the adenosine A1 receptor agonist adenosine amine congener (ADAC) injected after either 5 or 10 min ischemia at 100 μg/kg. When the drug was administered at either 6 or 12 h following 5 min forebrain ischemia, all animals were still alive on the 14th day after the occlusion. In both ADAC treated groups neuronal survival was approximately 85% vs. 50% in controls. Administration of a single dose of ADAC at times 15 min to 12 h after 10 min ischemia resulted in a significant improvement of survival in animals injected either at 15 or 30 min, or at 1, 2, or 3 h after the insult. In all 10 min ischemia groups, administration of ADAC resulted in a significant protection of neuronal morphology and preservation of microtubule associated protein 2 (MAP-2). However, postischemic Morris’ water maze tests revealed full preservation of spatial memory and learning ability in animals injected at 6 h. On the other hand, the performance of gerbils treated at 12 h postischemia was indistinguishable from that of the controls. Administration of ADAC at 100 μg/kg in non-ischemic animals did not result in bradycardia, hypotension, or hypothermia. The data indicate that when ADAC is used postischemically, the most optimal level of protection is obtained when drugs are given at 30 min to 6 h after the insult. Although the mechanisms involved in neuroprotective effects of adenosine A1 receptor agonists require further studies, the present results demonstrate the feasibility of their clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3449162  PMID: 8982684
Ischemia; treatment; Adenosine; Memory; MAP2 (microtubule-associated protein 2); (Gerbil)
11.  Methotrexate enhances the anti-inflammatory effect of CF101 via up-regulation of the A3 adenosine receptor expression 
Methotrexate (MTX) exerts an anti-inflammatory effect via its metabolite adenosine, which activates adenosine receptors. The A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR) was found to be highly expressed in inflammatory tissues and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of rats with adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA). CF101 (IB-MECA), an A3AR agonist, was previously found to inhibit the clinical and pathological manifestations of AIA. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of MTX on A3AR expression level and the efficacy of combined treatment with CF101 and MTX in AIA rats. AIA rats were treated with MTX, CF101, or both agents combined. A3AR mRNA, protein expression and exhibition were tested in paw and PBMC extracts from AIA rats utilizing immunohistochemistry staining, RT-PCR and Western blot analysis. A3AR level was tested in PBMC extracts from patients chronically treated with MTX and healthy individuals. The effect of CF101, MTX and combined treatment on A3AR expression level was also tested in PHA-stimulated PBMCs from healthy individuals and from MTX-treated patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Combined treatment with CF101 and MTX resulted in an additive anti-inflammatory effect in AIA rats. MTX induced A2AAR and A3AR over-expression in paw cells from treated animals. Moreover, increased A3AR expression level was detected in PBMCs from MTX-treated RA patients compared with cells from healthy individuals. MTX also increased the protein expression level of PHA-stimulated PBMCs from healthy individuals. The increase in A3AR level was counteracted in vitro by adenosine deaminase and mimicked in vivo by dipyridamole, demonstrating that receptor over-expression was mediated by adenosine. In conclusion, the data presented here indicate that MTX induces increased A3AR expression and exhibition, thereby potentiating the inhibitory effect of CF101 and supporting combined use of these drugs to treat RA.
doi:10.1186/ar2078
PMCID: PMC1794513  PMID: 17101059
12.  Oral antiplatelet therapy for atherothrombotic disease: overview of current and emerging treatment options 
Clinical presentations of atherothrombotic vascular disease, such as acute coronary syndromes, ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack, and symptomatic peripheral arterial disease, are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Platelet activation and aggregation play a seminal role in the arterial thrombus formation that precipitates acute manifestations of atherothrombotic disease. As a result, antiplatelet therapy has become the cornerstone of therapy for the prevention and treatment of atherothrombotic disease. Dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and a P2Y12 adenosine diphosphate (ADP) receptor inhibitor, such as clopidogrel or prasugrel, is the current standard-of-care antiplatelet therapy in patients with acute coronary syndromes managed with an early invasive strategy. However, these agents are associated with several important clinical limitations, including significant residual risk for ischemic events, bleeding risk, and variability in the degree of platelet inhibition. The residual risk can be attributed to the fact that aspirin and P2Y12 inhibitors block only the thromboxane A2 and ADP platelet activation pathways but do not affect the other pathways that lead to thrombosis, such as the protease-activated receptor-1 pathway stimulated by thrombin, the most potent platelet agonist. Bleeding risk associated with aspirin and P2Y12 inhibitors can be explained by their inhibitory effects on the thromboxane A2 and ADP pathways, which are critical for protective hemostasis. Interpatient variability in the degree of platelet inhibition in response to antiplatelet therapy may have a genetic component and contribute to poor clinical outcomes. These considerations underscore the clinical need for therapies with a novel mechanism of action that may reduce ischemic events without increasing the bleeding risk.
doi:10.2147/VHRM.S26030
PMCID: PMC3292409  PMID: 22393298
acute coronary syndromes; antiplatelet therapy; ADP; thromboxane A2; PAR-1; bleeding
13.  Anti-ischemic effects of multivalent dendrimeric A3 adenosine receptor agonists in cultured cardiomyocytes and in the isolated rat heart 
Pharmacological Research  2011;65(3):338-346.
Adenosine released during myocardial ischemia mediates cardioprotective preconditioning. Multivalent drugs covalently bound to nanocarriers may differ greatly in chemical and biological properties from the corresponding monomeric agents. Here, we conjugated chemically functionalized nucleosides to poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimeric polymers and investigated their effects in rat primary cardiac cell cultures and in the isolated heart. Three conjugates of A3 adenosine receptor (AR) agonists, chain-functionalized at the C2 or N6 position, were cardioprotective, with greater potency than monomeric agonist Cl-IB-MECA. Multivalent amide-linked MRS5216 was selective for A1 and A3ARs, and triazole-linked MRS5246 and MRS5539 (optionally containing fluorescent label) were A3AR-selective. The conjugates protected ischemic rat cardiomyocytes, an effect blocked by an A3AR antagonist MRS1523, and isolated hearts with significantly improved infarct size, rate of pressure product, and rate of contraction and relaxation. Thus, strategically derivatized nucleosides tethered to biocompatible polymeric carriers display enhanced cardioprotective potency via activation of A3AR on the cardiomyocyte surface.
doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2011.11.013
PMCID: PMC3278557  PMID: 22154845
dendrimer; cardiomyocyte; adenosine receptor; ischemia; isolated heart; rat
14.  Targeting ischemic penumbra: part I - from pathophysiology to therapeutic strategy 
Penumbra is the viable tissue around the irreversibly damaged ischemic core. The purpose of acute stroke treatment is to salvage penumbral tissue and to improve brain function. However, the majority of acute stroke patients who have treatable penumbra are left untreated. Therefore, developing an effective non-recanalizational therapeutics, such as neuroprotective agents, has significant clinical applications. Part I of this serial review on “targeting penumbra” puts special emphases on penumbral pathophysiology and the development of therapeutic strategies. Bioenergetic intervention by massive metabolic suppression and direct energy delivery would be a promising future direction. An effective drug delivery system for this purpose should be able to penetrate BBB and achieve high local tissue drug levels while non-ischemic region being largely unaffected. Selective drug delivery to ischemic stroke penumbra is feasible and deserves intensive research.
PMCID: PMC2896002  PMID: 20607107
stroke; cerebral ischemia; neuroprotection; penumbra; treatment; energy state; cerebral energy metabolism
15.  A Novel Pharmacological Approach to Treating Cardiac Ischemia 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2000;275(39):30272-30279.
Adenosine released during cardiac ischemia exerts a potent, protective effect in the heart via activation of A1 or A3 receptors. However, the interaction between the two cardioprotective adenosine receptors and the question of which receptor is the more important anti-ischemic receptor remain largely unexplored. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that activation of both receptors exerted a cardioprotective effect that was significantly greater than activation of either receptor individually. This was accomplished by using a novel design in which new binary conjugates of adenosine A1 and A3 receptor agonists were synthesized and tested in a novel cardiac myocyte model of adenosine-elicited cardioprotection. Binary drugs having mixed selectivity for both A1 and A3 receptors were created through the covalent linking of functionalized congeners of adenosine agonists, each being selective for either the A1 or A3 receptor subtype. MRS 1740 and MRS 1741, thiourea-linked, regioisomers of a binary conjugate, were highly potent and selective in radioligand binding assays for A1 and A3 receptors (Ki values of 0.7–3.5 nm) versus A2A receptors. The myocyte models utilized cultured chick embryo cells, either ventricular cells expressing native adenosine A1 and A3 receptors, or engineered atrial cells, in which either human A3 receptors alone or both human A1 and A3 receptors were expressed. The binary agonist MRS 1741 coactivated A1 and A3 receptors simultaneously, with full cardioprotection (EC50 ~0.1 nm) dependent on expression of both receptors. Thus, co-activation of both adenosine A1 and A3 receptors by the binary A1/A3 agonists represents a novel general cardioprotective approach for the treatment of myocardial ischemia.
doi:10.1074/jbc.M001520200
PMCID: PMC3561767  PMID: 10887176
16.  Adenosine receptors as therapeutic targets 
Nature reviews. Drug discovery  2006;5(3):247-264.
Adenosine receptors are major targets of caffeine, the most commonly consumed drug in the world. There is growing evidence that they could also be promising therapeutic targets in a wide range of conditions, including cerebral and cardiac ischaemic diseases, sleep disorders, immune and inflammatory disorders and cancer. After more than three decades of medicinal chemistry research, a considerable number of selective agonists and antagonists of adenosine receptors have been discovered, and some have been clinically evaluated, although none has yet received regulatory approval. However, recent advances in the understanding of the roles of the various adenosine receptor subtypes, and in the development of selective and potent ligands, as discussed in this review, have brought the goal of therapeutic application of adenosine receptor modulators considerably closer.
doi:10.1038/nrd1983
PMCID: PMC3463109  PMID: 16518376
17.  Design and Synthesis of Cannabinoid Receptor 1 Antagonists for Peripheral Selectivity 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(6):2820-2834.
Antagonists of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) have potential for the treatment of several diseases such as obesity, liver disease and diabetes. Recently, development of several CB1 antagonists was halted due to adverse central nervous system (CNS) related side effects observed with rimonabant, the first clinically approved CB1 inverse agonist. However, recent studies indicate that regulation of peripherally expressed CB1 with CNS-sparing compounds is a viable strategy to treat several important disorders. Our efforts aimed at rationally designing peripherally restricted CB1 antagonists have resulted in compounds that have limited blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and CNS exposure in preclinical in vitro and in vivo models. Typically, compounds with high topological polar surface areas (TPSAs) do not cross the BBB passively. Compounds with TPSAs higher than rimonabant (rimonabant TPSA = 50) and excellent functional activity with limited CNS penetration were identified. These compounds will serve as templates for further optimization.
doi:10.1021/jm201731z
PMCID: PMC3319116  PMID: 22372835
CB1; peripheral; antagonist; cannabinoid; toplogical polar surface area
18.  Kappa-opioid ligands in the study and treatment of mood disorders 
Pharmacology & therapeutics  2009;123(3):334-343.
The biological basis of mood is not understood. Most research on mood and affective states has focused on the roles of brain systems containing monoamines (e.g., dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin). However, it is becoming clear that endogenous opioid systems in the brain may also be involved in regulation of mood. In this review, we focus on the potential utility of kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) ligands in the study and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Research from our group and others suggests that KOR antagonists might be useful for depression, KOR agonists might be useful for mania, and KOR partial agonists might be useful for mood stabilization. Currently available agents have some unfavorable properties that might be addressed through medicinal chemistry. The development of KOR-selective agents with improved drug-like characteristics would facilitate preclinical and clinical studies designed to evaluate the possibility that KORs are a feasible target for new medications.
doi:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.05.008
PMCID: PMC2740476  PMID: 19497337
depression; antidepressant; dynorphin; kappa opioid; dopamine; model; rat; mouse
19.  Reduction of postischemic brain damage and memory deficits following treatment with the selective adenosine A1 receptor agonist 
European journal of pharmacology  1996;302(1-3):43-48.
Agonists of adenosine A1 receptors have been frequently proposed as candidates for clinical development in treatment of cerebral ischemia and stroke. Numerous experimental studies have shown that pre- and postischemic administration of these drugs results in a very significant reduction of postischemic brain damage. However, only a few studies determined the impact of cerebral ischemia and drug treatment on postischemic recovery of spatial memory. The present paper demonstrates that preischemic i.p. administration of adenosine amine congener (ADAC) at 100 μg/kg in gerbils results in a significant (P < 0.05) reduction of postischemic mortality and hippocampal, cortical and striatal morbidity. Postischemic Morris’ water maze tests show that preischemic treatment with ADAC also leads to a very significant (P < 0.001) reduction of postischemic spatial memory loss. Our results indicate feasibility of further consideration of adenosine A1 receptor agonists as a clinically applicable acute treatment of brain ischemia. Recent development of neuroprotective adenosine A1 receptor agonists that are free of cardiovascular side effects supports such development.
PMCID: PMC3449166  PMID: 8790990
Cerebral ischemia; Adenosine receptor; Spatial memory; Water maze; (Gerbil)
20.  Regadenoson in the detection of coronary artery disease 
Myocardial perfusion studies use either physical exercise or pharmacologic vasodilator stress to induce maximum myocardial hyperemia. Adenosine and dipyridamole are the most commonly used agents to induce coronary arterial vasodilation for myocardial perfusion imaging. Both cause frequent undesirable side-effects. Because of its ultrashort half-life, adenosine must be administered by constant intravenous infusion during the examination. A key feature of an ideal A2A agonist for myocardial perfusion imaging studies would be an optimal level and duration of hyperemic response. Drugs with a longer half-time and more selective A2A adenosine receptor agonism, such as regadenoson, should theoretically result in a similar degree of coronary vasodilation with fewer or less severe side-effects than non-selective, ultrashort-lasting adenosine receptor stimulation. The available preclinical and clinical data suggest that regadenoson is a highly subtype-selective, potent, low-affinity A2A adenosine receptor agonist that holds promise for future use as a coronary vasodilator in myocardial perfusion imaging studies. Infusion of regadenoson achieves maximum coronary hyperemia that is equivalent to adenosine. After a single bolus infusion over 10 s, hyperemia is maintained significantly longer (approximately 2–5 min) than with adenosine, which should facilitate radionuclide distribution for myocardial perfusion imaging studies. In comparison with the clinically competitive A2A adenosine receptor agonist binodenoson, regadenoson has a several-fold shorter duration of action, although the magnitude of hyperemic response is comparable between the two. The more rapid termination of action of regadenoson points to an advantage of enhanced control for the clinical application. Regadenoson selectively causes vasodilation of the coronary circulation, whereas effects on systemic blood pressure are only mild. The clinical adverse effect profile of regadenoson appears to be favorable, particularly with respect to dreaded atrioventricular conduction disturbances and bronchospasm.
PMCID: PMC2496979  PMID: 18561509
regadenoson; adenosine; coronary vasodilation; physical exercise; ultrashort-lasting adenosine receptor stimulation; selective A2A adenosine receptor agonism
21.  Preserving postischemic reperfusion in the kidney: a role for extracellular adenosine 
Several adenosine receptor subtypes on endothelial, epithelial, mesangial, and inflammatory cells have been implicated in ischemic acute kidney injury, a life-threatening condition that frequently complicates the care of hospitalized patients. In this issue of the JCI, Grenz and coworkers provide novel insight into how preservation of postischemic renal perfusion by endothelial cell adenosine A2B receptors is antagonized by adenosine reuptake into proximal tubule cells by equilibrative nucleotide transporter 1, which can be inhibited by dipyridamole. The work suggests that adenosine A2B receptor agonists and inhibition of equilibrative nucleoside transporters by dipyridamole may have therapeutic potential in ischemic acute kidney injury, a condition for which there are currently no specific therapeutic interventions.
doi:10.1172/JCI60957
PMCID: PMC3266797  PMID: 22269321
22.  Covalent binding of a selective agonist irreversibly activates guinea pig coronary artery A2 adenosine receptors 
Summary
Experiments employing guinea pig heart Langendorff preparations compared the coronary vasoactivity of a functionalized congener of adenosine, 2-[(2-amino-ethylaminocarbonylethyl)phenylethylamino]-5′-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine, APEC, with the vasoactivity of the product of the reaction of APEC with 1,4-phenylenediisothiocyanate, 4-isothiocyanatophenylaminothiocarbonyl-APEC (DITC-APEC). Previous experiments showed that whereas APEC binds reversibly to the A2A adenosine receptor of brain striatum, DITC-APEC binds irreversibly. APEC caused concentration-dependent coronary vasodilation that persisted unchanged when agonist administration continued for up to 165 min, but promptly faded when the agent was withdrawn. The unselective adenosine receptor antagonist 8-(4-sulfophenyl)theophyline (8-SPT) antagonized the vasoactivity of APEC. By contrast, DITC-APEC (0.125 – 1.0 nM) caused progressive, concentration-independent vasodilation that persisted unchanged for as long as 120 min after the agent was stopped and that was insensitive to antagonism by subsequently applied 8-SPT. However, perfusion of the heart with buffer containing 0.1 mM 8-SPT strongly antagonized the coronary vasodilatory action of DITC-APEC given subsequently. Such observations indicate that the covalent binding of DITC-APEC causes irreversible activation of the guinea pig coronary artery A2A adenosine receptor. Neither APEC nor DITC-APEC appeared to desensitize the coronary adenosine receptor during two or more hours of exposure to either agonist.
PMCID: PMC3437322  PMID: 8321327
A2-adenosine receptor; Irreversible agonist; Coronary vasodilation; Functionalized congener
23.  Adenosine Receptor Prodrugs: Synthesis and Biological Activity of Derivatives of Potent, A1-Selective Agonists 
5′-Ester derivatives of the potent adenosine agonists N6-[4-[[[[4-[[[(2-acetylaminoethyl)amino] carbonyl] methyl] anilino] carbonyl] methyl] phenyl] adenosine (N-AcADAC; 1) and N6-cyclopentyladenosine (CPA; 2) were prepared as prodrugs. Both alkyl esters or carbonates (designed to enter the brain by virtue of increased lipophilicity) and 1,4-dihydro-1-methyl-3- [(pyridinylcarbonyl)oxy] esters designed to concentrate in the brain by virtue of a redox delivery system were synthesized. In the 5′-blocked form, the adenosine agonists displayed highly diminished affinity for rat brain A1-adenosine receptors in binding assays. The dihydropyridine prodrug 29 was active in an assay of locomotor depression in mice, in which adenosine agonists are highly depressant. The behavior depression was not reversible by peripheral administration of a non-central nervous system active adenosine antagonist. In an assay of the peripheral action of adenosine (i.e., the inhibition of lipolysis in rats), the parent compounds were highly potent and the dihydropyridine prodrug was much less potent.
PMCID: PMC3459066  PMID: 8138909
24.  [11C]AF150(S), an agonist PET ligand for M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors 
EJNMMI Research  2013;3:19.
Background
The M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M1ACh-R) is a G protein-coupled receptor that can occur in interconvertible coupled and uncoupled states. It is enriched in the basal ganglia, hippocampus, olfactory bulb, and cortical areas, and plays a role in motor and cognitive functions. Muscarinic M1 agonists are potential therapeutic agents for cognitive disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate [11C]AF150(S) as a putative M1ACh-R agonist PET ligand, which, owing to its agonist properties, could provide a tool to explore the active G protein-coupled receptor.
Methods
Regional kinetics of [11C]AF150(S) in rat brain were measured using a high-resolution research tomograph, both under baseline conditions and following pre-treatment with various compounds or co-administration of non-radioactive AF150(S). Data were analysed by calculating standard uptake values and by applying the simplified reference tissue model (SRTM).
Results
[11C]AF150(S) was rapidly taken up in the brain, followed by a rapid clearance from all brain regions. Analysis of PET data using SRTM revealed a binding potential (BPND) of 0.25 for the striatum, 0.20 for the hippocampus, 0.16 for the frontal cortical area and 0.15 for the posterior cortical area, all regions rich in M1ACh-R. BPND values were significantly reduced following pre-treatment with M1ACh-R antagonists. BPND values were not affected by pre-treatment with a M3ACh-R antagonist. Moreover, BPND was significantly reduced after pre-treatment with haloperidol, a dopamine D2 receptor blocker that causes an increase in extracellular acetylcholine (ACh). The latter may compete with [11C]AF150(S) for binding to the M1ACh-R; further pharmacological agents were applied to investigate this possibility. Upon injection of the highest dose (49.1 nmol kg−1) of [11C]AF150(S) diluted with non-radioactive AF150(S), brain concentration of AF150(S) reached 100 nmol L−1 at peak level. At this concentration, no sign of saturation in binding to M1ACh-R was observed.
Conclusions
The agonist PET ligand [11C]AF150(S) was rapidly taken up in the brain and showed an apparent specific M1ACh-R-related signal in brain areas that are rich in M1ACh-R. Moreover, binding of the agonist PET ligand [11C]AF150(S) appears to be sensitive to changes in extracellular ACh levels. Further studies are needed to evaluate the full potential of [11C]AF150(S) for imaging the active pool of M1ACh-R in vivo.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-3-19
PMCID: PMC3623648  PMID: 23514539
PET imaging; agonist; [11C]AF150(S); G protein-coupled receptor; rat brain; M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor
25.  Orally Active Adenosine A1 Receptor Agonists with Antinociceptive Effects in Mice 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(14):6467-6477.
Adenosine A1 receptor (A1AR) agonists have antinociceptive effects in multiple preclinical models of acute and chronic pain. Although numerous A1AR agonists have been developed, clinical applications of these agents have been hampered by their cardiovascular side effects. Herein we report a series of novel A1AR agonists, some of which are structurally related to adenosine 5′-monophosphate (5′-AMP), a naturally occurring nucleotide that itself activates A1AR. These novel compounds potently activate A1AR in several orthogonal in vitro assays and are subtype selective for A1AR over A2AAR, A2BAR, and A3AR. Among them, UNC32A (3a) is orally active and has dose-dependent antinociceptive effects in wild-type mice. The antinociceptive effects of 3a were completely abolished in A1AR knockout mice, revealing a strict dependence on A1AR for activity. The apparent lack of cardiovascular side effects when administered orally and high affinity (Ki of 36 nM for the human A1AR) make this compound potentially suitable as a therapeutic.
doi:10.1021/jm3004834
PMCID: PMC3501123  PMID: 22738238

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