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1.  An Essential Role for Adenosine Signaling in Alcohol Abuse 
Current drug abuse reviews  2010;3(3):163-174.
In the central nervous system (CNS), adenosine plays an important role in regulating neuronal activity and modulates signaling by other neurotransmitters, including GABA, glutamate, and dopamine. Adenosine suppresses neurotransmitter release, reduces neuronal excitability, and regulates ion channel function through activation of four classes of G protein-coupled receptors, A1, A2A, A2B, and A3. Central adenosine levels are largely controlled by nucleoside transporters, which regulate adenosine levels across the plasma membrane. Adenosine has been shown to modulate cortical glutamate signaling and ventral-tegmental dopaminergic signaling, which are involved in several aspects of alcohol use disorders. Acute ethanol elevates extracellular adenosine levels by selectively inhibiting the type 1 equilibrative nucleoside transporter, ENT1. Raised adenosine levels mediate the ataxic and sedative/hypnotic effects of ethanol through activation of A1 receptors in the cerebellum, striatum, and cerebral cortex. Recently, we have shown that pharmacological inhibition or genetic deletion of ENT1 reduces the expression of excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2), the primary regulator of extracellular glutamate, in astrocytes. These lines of evidence support a central role for adenosine-mediated glutamate signaling and the involvement of astrocytes in regulating ethanol intoxication and preference. In this paper, we discuss recent findings on the implication of adenosine signaling in alcohol use disorders.
PMCID: PMC3922619  PMID: 21054262
Adenosine; Alcoholism; Signaling; Ataxia; Glutamate; Neuron-Glial Interaction; Pharmacology; Genetics
2.  Adenosine and the Auditory System 
Current Neuropharmacology  2009;7(3):246-256.
Adenosine is a signalling molecule that modulates cellular activity in the central nervous system and peripheral organs via four G protein-coupled receptors designated A1, A2A, A2B, and A3. This review surveys the literature on the role of adenosine in auditory function, particularly cochlear function and its protection from oxidative stress. The specific tissue distribution of adenosine receptors in the mammalian cochlea implicates adenosine signalling in sensory transduction and auditory neurotransmission although functional studies have demonstrated that adenosine stimulates cochlear blood flow, but does not alter the resting and sound-evoked auditory potentials. An interest in a potential otoprotective role for adenosine has recently evolved, fuelled by the capacity of A1 adenosine receptors to prevent cochlear injury caused by acoustic trauma and ototoxic drugs. The balance between A1 and A2A receptors is conceived as critical for cochlear response to oxidative stress, which is an underlying mechanism of the most common inner ear pathologies (e.g. noise-induced and age-related hearing loss, drug ototoxicity). Enzymes involved in adenosine metabolism, adenosine kinase and adenosine deaminase, are also emerging as attractive targets for controlling oxidative stress in the cochlea. Other possible targets include ectonucleotidases that generate adenosine from extracellular ATP, and nucleoside transporters, which regulate adenosine concentrations on both sides of the plasma membrane. Developments of selective adenosine receptor agonists and antagonists that can cross the blood-cochlea barrier are bolstering efforts to develop therapeutic interventions aimed at ameliorating cochlear injury. Manipulations of the adenosine signalling system thus hold significant promise in the therapeutic management of oxidative stress in the cochlea.
PMCID: PMC2769008  PMID: 20190966
Adenosine; adenosine receptors; cochlea; hearing; deafness; oxidative stress; noise; ototoxicity.
3.  Regulation of leukocyte migration across endothelial barriers by ecto-5’-nucleotidase-generated adenosine 
CD73-deficient mice are valuable for evaluating the ability of CD73-generated adenosine to modulate adenosine receptor-mediated responses. Here we report the role of CD73 in regulating lymphocyte migration across two distinct barriers. In the first case, CD73-generated adenosine restricts the migration of lymphocytes across high endothelial venules (HEV) into draining lymph nodes after an inflammatory stimulus, apparently by triggering A2B receptors on HEV. Secondly, CD73 promotes the migration of pathogenic T cells into the central nervous system during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Experiments are in progress to determine whether this effect is also adenosine receptor-mediated and to identify the relevant adenosine receptor.
PMCID: PMC2776682  PMID: 18600537
CD73; ecto-5’-nucleotidase; leukocyte migration; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
4.  Modulatory effect of adenosine receptors on the ascending and descending neural reflex responses of rat ileum 
BMC Neuroscience  2002;3:21.
Adenosine is known to act as a neuromodulator by suppressing synaptic transmission in the central and peripheral nervous system. Both the release of adenosine within the small intestine and the presence of adenosine receptors on enteric neurons have been demonstrated. The aim of the present study was to characterize a possible involvement of adenosine receptors in the modulation of the myenteric reflex. The experiments were carried out on ileum segments 10 cm in length incubated in an single chambered organ bath, and the reflex response was initiated by electrical stimulation (ES).
ES caused an ascending contraction and a descending relaxation followed by a contraction. All motility responses to ES were completely blocked by tetrodotoxin, indicating that they are mediated by neural mechanisms. Atropine blocked the contractile effects, whereas the descending relaxation was significantly increased. The A1 receptor agonist N6-cyclopentyladenosine increased the ascending contraction, whereas the ascending contraction was reduced by the A1 receptor antagonist 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine. Activation of the A1 receptor further reduced the descending relaxation and the latency of the peristaltic reflex. The A2B receptor antagonist alloxazine increased ascending contraction, whereas descending relaxation remained unchanged. For A2A and A3 receptors, we found contradictory effects of the agonists and antagonists, thus there is no clear physiological role for these receptors at this time.
This study suggests that the myenteric ascending and descending reflex response of the rat small intestine is modulated by release of endogenous adenosine via A1 receptors.
PMCID: PMC139982  PMID: 12495441
small intestine; myenteric reflex; ascending contraction; descending relaxation; adenosine receptors
5.  Co-localization and functional cross-talk between A1 and P2Y1 purine receptors in rat hippocampus 
Adenosine and ATP, via their specific P1 and P2 receptors, modulate a wide variety of cellular and tissue functions, playing a neuroprotective or neurodegenerative role in brain damage conditions. Although, in general, adenosine inhibits excitability and ATP functions as an excitatory transmitter in the central nervous system, recent data suggest the existence of a heterodimerization and a functional interaction between P1 and P2 receptors in the brain. In particular, interactions of adenosine A1 and P2Y1 receptors may play important roles in the purinergic signalling cascade. In the present work, we investigated the subcellular localization/co-localization of the receptors and their functional cross-talk at the membrane level in Wistar rat hippocampus. This is a particularly vulnerable brain area, which is sensitive to adenosine- and ATP-mediated control of glutamatergic transmission. The postembedding immunogold electron microscopy technique showed that the two receptors are co-localized at the synaptic membranes and surrounding astroglial membranes of glutamatergic synapses. To investigate the functional cross-talk between the two types of purinergic receptors, we evaluated the reciprocal effects of their activation on their G protein coupling. P2Y1 receptor stimulation impaired the potency of A1 receptor coupling to G protein, whereas the stimulation of A1 receptors increased the functional responsiveness of P2Y1 receptors. The results demonstrated an A1–P2Y1 receptor co-localization at glutamatergic synapses and surrounding astrocytes and a functional interaction between these receptors in hippocampus, suggesting ATP and adenosine can interact in purine-mediated signalling. This may be particularly important during pathological conditions, when large amounts of these mediators are released.
PMCID: PMC2121138  PMID: 17672857
adenosine; ATP; brain damage; electron microscopy; G protein coupled receptors; immunocytochemistry
6.  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.
PMCID: PMC2769005  PMID: 20190963
Adenosine; adenosine receptors; cerebral ischemia; neuroprotection; preconditioning; stroke; treatment.
7.  Implication of the Purinergic System in Alcohol Use Disorders 
In the central nervous system, adenosine and ATP play an important role in regulating neuronal activity as well as controlling other neurotransmitter systems such as GABA, glutamate, and dopamine. Ethanol increases extracellular adenosine levels that regulate the ataxic and hypnotic/sedative effects of ethanol. Interestingly, ethanol is known to increase adenosine levels by inhibiting an ethanol-sensitive adenosine transporter, ENT1 (equilibrative nucleoside transporter type 1). Ethanol is also known to inhibit ATP-specific P2X receptors, which might result in such similar effects as those caused by an increase in adenosine. Adenosine and ATP exert their functions through P1 (metabotropic) and P2 (P2X-ionotropic and P2Y-metabotropic) receptors, respectively. Purinergic signaling in cortex-striatum-VTA has been implicated in regulating cortical glutamate signaling as well as VTA dopaminergic signaling, which regulates the motivational effect of ethanol. Moreover, several nucleoside transporters and receptors have been identified in astrocytes, which regulate not only adenosine-ATP neurotransmission, but also homeostasis of major inhibitory-excitatory neurotransmission (i.e. GABA or glutamate) through neuron-glial interactions. This review will present novel findings on the implications of adenosine and ATP neurotransmission in alcohol use disorders.
PMCID: PMC3076125  PMID: 21223299
Adenosine; ATP; Alcoholism; Purinergic; Signaling; Neurotransmission
Biochemical pharmacology  1991;41(10):1399-1410.
A recent conference entitled Purines in Cell Signalling: Targets for New Drugs, held in Rockville, Maryland, in September, 1989, was one indication of the increasing interest in developing agonists and antagonists of P1-(adenosine) and P2-(ATP) purinoceptors [1] as potential therapeutic agents. Extracellular adenosine, acting at its membrane bound A1 and A2 receptors, is a ubiquitous modulator of cellular activity. The purine can arise from several sources including ATP hydrolysis by ectokinase activity in the region of the nerve terminal [2] and from S-adenosylhomocysteine [3] and ATP within the cell. Together with its more stable analogs, adenosine is a potent inhibitor of neurotransmitter release in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, and in cardiac, adipose and other tissues. Adenosine can also affect blood pressure and heart rate as well as modulate the function of the immune, inflammatory, gastrointestinal, renal and pulmonary systems, either via its effects on transmitter release or directly via receptor mechanisms altering intracellular transduction processes.
PMCID: PMC3561777  PMID: 2018549
9.  The Role of Adenosine in Alzheimer’s Disease 
Current Neuropharmacology  2009;7(3):207-216.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system manifested by cognitive and memory deterioration, a variety of neuropsychiatric symptoms, behavioral disturbances, and progressive impairment of daily life activities. Current pharmacotherapies are restricted to symptomatic interventions but do not prevent progressive neuronal degeneration. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are needed to intervene with these progressive pathological processes. In the past several years adenosine, a ubiquitously released purine ribonucleoside, has become important for its neuromodulating capability and its emerging positive experimental effects in neurodegenerative diseases. Recent research suggests that adenosine receptors play important roles in the modulation of cognitive function. The present paper attempts to review published reports and data from different studies showing the evidence of a relationship between adenosinergic function and AD-related cognitive deficits. Epidemiological studies have found an association between coffee (a nonselective adenosine receptor antagonist) consumption and improved cognitive function in AD patients and in the elderly. Long-term administration of caffeine in transgenic animal models showed a reduced amyloid burden in brain with better cognitive performance. Antagonists of adenosine A2A receptors mimic these beneficial effects of caffeine on cognitive function. Neuronal cell cultures with amyloid beta in the presence of an A2A receptor antagonist completely prevented amyloid beta-induced neurotoxicity. These findings suggest that the adenosinergic system constitutes a new therapeutic target for AD, and caffeine and A2A receptor antagonists may have promise to manage cognitive dysfunction in AD.
PMCID: PMC2769004  PMID: 20190962
Adenosine receptor; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid beta; caffeine; cognition; neuromodulation.
10.  Central nervous system regulation of mammalian hibernation: implications for metabolic suppression and ischemia tolerance 
Journal of neurochemistry  2007;102(6):1713-1726.
Torpor during hibernation defines the nadir of mammalian metabolism where whole animal rates of metabolism are decreased to as low as 2% of basal metabolic rate. This capacity to decrease profoundly the metabolic demand of organs and tissues has the potential to translate into novel therapies for the treatment of ischemia associated with stroke, cardiac arrest or trauma where delivery of oxygen and nutrients fails to meet demand. If metabolic demand could be arrested in a regulated way, cell and tissue injury could be attenuated. Metabolic suppression achieved during hibernation is regulated, in part, by the central nervous system through indirect and possibly direct means. In this study, we review recent evidence for mechanisms of central nervous system control of torpor in hibernating rodents including evidence of a permissive, hibernation protein complex, a role for A1 adenosine receptors, mu opiate receptors, glutamate and thyrotropin-releasing hormone. Central sites for regulation of torpor include the hippocampus, hypothalamus and nuclei of the autonomic nervous system. In addition, we discuss evidence that hibernation phenotypes can be translated to non-hibernating species by H2S and 3-iodothyronamine with the caveat that the hypothermia, bradycardia, and metabolic suppression induced by these compounds may or may not be identical to mechanisms employed in true hibernation.
PMCID: PMC3600610  PMID: 17555547
metabolic arrest; metabolic suppression; suspended animation
Journal of neurochemistry  2012;123(3):373-384.
In the central nervous system (CNS), an antagonistic interaction has been shown between adenosine A2A and dopamine D2 receptors (A2ARs and D2Rs) that may be relevant both in normal and pathological conditions (i.e. Parkinson’s disease). Thus, the molecular determinants mediating this receptor-receptor interaction have recently been explored, since the fine tuning of this target (namely the A2AR/D2R oligomer) could possibly improve the treatment of certain CNS diseases. Here, we used a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based approach to examine the allosteric modulation of the D2R within the A2AR/D2R oligomer and the dependence of this receptor-receptor interaction on two regions rich in positive charges on intracellular loop 3 (IL3) of the D2R. Interestingly, we observed a negative allosteric effect of the D2R agonist quinpirole on A2AR ligand binding and activation. However, these allosteric effects were abolished upon mutation of specific arginine residues (217–222 and 267–269) on IL3 of the D2R, thus demonstrating a major role of these positively-charged residues in mediating the observed receptor-receptor interaction. Overall, these results provide structural insights to better understand the functioning of the A2AR/D2R oligomer in living cells.
PMCID: PMC3480334  PMID: 22924752
A2AR; D2R; FRET; oligomerization; allosterism; fluorescent agonist
12.  Purinergic receptors and synaptic transmission in enteric neurons 
Purinergic Signalling  2007;4(3):255-266.
Purines such as ATP and adenosine participate in synaptic transmission in the enteric nervous system as neurotransmitters or neuromodulators. Purinergic receptors are localized on the cell bodies or nerve terminals of different functional classes of enteric neurons and, with other receptors, form unique receptor complements. Activation of purinergic receptors can regulate neuronal activity by depolarization, by regulating intracellular calcium, or by modulating second messenger pathways. Purinergic signaling between enteric neurons plays an important role in regulating specific enteric reflexes and overall gastrointestinal function. In the present article, we review evidence for purine receptors in the enteric nervous system, including P1 (adenosine) receptors and P2 (ATP) receptors. We will explore the role they play in mediating fast and slow synaptic transmission and in presynaptic inhibition of transmission. Finally, we will examine the molecular properties of the native receptors, their signaling mechanisms, and their role in gastrointestinal pathology.
PMCID: PMC2486344  PMID: 18368519
Adenosine receptors; Enteric nervous system; Gastrointestinal tract; P2X receptors; P2Y receptors; Purines; Synaptic transmission
13.  Renin-Angiotensin System and Sympathetic Neurotransmitter Release in the Central Nervous System of Hypertension 
Many Studies suggest that changes in sympathetic nerve activity in the central nervous system might have a crucial role in blood pressure control. The present paper discusses evidence in support of the concept that the brain renin-angiotensin system (RAS) might be linked to sympathetic nerve activity in hypertension. The amount of neurotransmitter release from sympathetic nerve endings can be regulated by presynaptic receptors located on nerve terminals. It has been proposed that alterations in sympathetic nervous activity in the central nervous system of hypertension might be partially due to abnormalities in presynaptic modulation of neurotransmitter release. Recent evidence indicates that all components of the RAS have been identified in the brain. It has been proposed that the brain RAS may actively participate in the modulation of neurotransmitter release and influence the central sympathetic outflow to the periphery. This paper summarizes the results of studies to evaluate the possible relationship between the brain RAS and sympathetic neurotransmitter release in the central nervous system of hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3512297  PMID: 23227311
14.  Neurotransmitter receptor heteromers and their integrative role in ‘local modules’: The striatal spine module 
Brain research reviews  2007;55(1):55-67.
‘Local module’ is a fundamental functional unit of the central nervous system that can be defined as the minimal portion of one or more neurons and-or one or more glial cells that operates as an independent integrative unit. This review focuses on the importance of neurotransmitter receptor heteromers for the operation of local modules. To illustrate this, we use the striatal spine module (SSM), comprised of the dendritic spine of the medium spiny neuron (MSN), its glutamatergic and dopaminergic terminals and astroglial processes. The SSM is found in the striatum, and although aspects such as neurotransmitters and receptors will be specific to the SSM, some general principles should apply to any local module in the brain. The analysis of some of the receptor heteromers in the SSM shows that receptor heteromerization is associated with particular elaborated functions in this local module. Adenosine A2A receptor-dopamine D2 receptor-glutamate metabotropic mGlu5 receptor heteromers are located adjacent to the glutamatergic synapse of the dendritic spine of the enkephalin MSN, and their cross-talk within the receptor heteromers helps to modulate postsynaptic plastic changes at the glutamatergic synapse. A1 receptor-A2A receptor heteromers are found in the glutamatergic terminals and the molecular cross-talk between the two receptors in the heteromer helps to modulate glutamate release. Finally, dopamine D2 receptor-non-α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor heteromers, which are located in dopaminergic terminals, introduce the new concept of autoreceptor heteromer.
PMCID: PMC2039920  PMID: 17408563
Local module; receptor heteromer; volume transmission; dopamine; glutamate; acetylcholine; adenosine; striatum
15.  A Current Review of Cypermethrin-Induced Neurotoxicity and Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration 
Current Neuropharmacology  2012;10(1):64-71.
Cypermethrin, a class II pyrethroid pesticide, is used to control insects in the household and agricultural fields. Despite beneficial roles, its uncontrolled and repetitive applications lead to unintended effects in non-target organisms. Cypermethrin crosses the blood-brain barrier and induces neurotoxicity and motor deficits. Cypermethrin prolongs the opening of sodium channel, a major site of its action, leading to hyper-excitation of the central nervous system. In addition to sodium channel, cypermethrin modulates chloride, voltage-gated calcium and potassium channels, alters the activity of glutamate and acetylcholine receptors and adenosine triphosphatases and induces DNA damage and oxidative stress in the neuronal cells. Cypermethrin also modulates the level of neurotransmitters, including gamma-aminobutyric acid and dopamine. It is one of the most commonly used pesticides in neurotoxicology research not only because of its variable responses depending upon the doses, time and routes of exposure and strain, age, gender and species of animals used across multiple studies but also owing to its ability to induce the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurodegeneration. This article describes the effect of acute, chronic, developmental and adulthood exposures to cypermethrin in experimental animals. The article sheds light on cypermethrin-induced changes in the central nervous system, including its contribution in the onset of specific features, which are associated with the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurodegeneration. Resemblances and dissimilarities of cypermethrin-induced nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurodegeneration with sporadic and chemicals-induced disease models along with its advantages and pitfalls are also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3286848  PMID: 22942879
Cypermethrin; model systems; neurotoxicity; neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; pesticides.
16.  Adenosine A2A receptors in Parkinson’s disease treatment 
Purinergic Signalling  2008;4(4):305-312.
Latest results on the action of adenosine A2A receptor antagonists indicate their potential therapeutic usefulness in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Basal ganglia possess high levels of adenosine A2A receptors, mainly on the external surfaces of neurons located at the indirect tracts between the striatum, globus pallidus, and substantia nigra. Experiments with animal models of Parkinson’s disease indicate that adenosine A2A receptors are strongly involved in the regulation of the central nervous system. Co-localization of adenosine A2A and dopaminergic D2 receptors in striatum creates a milieu for antagonistic interaction between adenosine and dopamine. The experimental data prove that the best improvement of mobility in patients with Parkinson’s disease could be achieved with simultaneous activation of dopaminergic D2 receptors and inhibition of adenosine A2A receptors. In animal models of Parkinson’s disease, the use of selective antagonists of adenosine A2A receptors, such as istradefylline, led to the reversibility of movement dysfunction. These compounds might improve mobility during both monotherapy and co-administration with L-DOPA and dopamine receptor agonists. The use of adenosine A2A receptor antagonists in combination therapy enables the reduction of the L-DOPA doses, as well as a reduction of side effects. In combination therapy, the adenosine A2A receptor antagonists might be used in both moderate and advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. The long-lasting administration of adenosine A2A receptor antagonists does not decrease the patient response and does not cause side effects typical of L-DOPA therapy. It was demonstrated in various animal models that inhibition of adenosine A2A receptors not only decreases the movement disturbance, but also reveals a neuroprotective activity, which might impede or stop the progression of the disease. Recently, clinical trials were completed on the use of istradefylline (KW-6002), an inhibitor of adenosine A2A receptors, as an anti-Parkinson drug.
PMCID: PMC2583202  PMID: 18438720
Parkinson’s disease; Adenosine; Adenosine receptors; Dopamine receptors; Neuroprotection
17.  Adenosine Neuromodulation and Traumatic Brain Injury 
Current Neuropharmacology  2009;7(3):228-237.
Adenosine is a ubiquitous signaling molecule, with widespread activity across all organ systems. There is evidence that adenosine regulation is a significant factor in traumatic brain injury (TBI) onset, recovery, and outcome, and a growing body of experimental work examining the therapeutic potential of adenosine neuromodulation in the treatment of TBI. In the central nervous system (CNS), adenosine (dys)regulation has been demonstrated following TBI, and correlated to several TBI pathologies, including impaired cerebral hemodynamics, anaerobic metabolism, and inflammation. In addition to acute pathologies, adenosine function has been implicated in TBI comorbidities, such as cognitive deficits, psychiatric function, and post-traumatic epilepsy. This review presents studies in TBI as well as adenosine-related mechanisms in co-morbidities of and unfavorable outcomes resulting from TBI. While the exact role of the adenosine system following TBI remains unclear, there is increasing evidence that a thorough understanding of adenosine signaling will be critical to the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools for the treatment of TBI.
PMCID: PMC2769006  PMID: 20190964
Adenosine deaminase; adenosine kinase; nucleotidase; nucleoside transport; caffeine; comorbidity.
Dietary flavonoids have varied effects on animal cells, such as inhibition of platelet binding and aggregation, inhibition of inflammation, and anticancer properties, but the mechanisms of these effects remain largely unexplained. Adenosine receptors are involved in the homeostasis of the immune, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems, and adenosine agonists/antagonists exert many similar effects. The affinity of flavonoids and other phytochemicals to adenosine receptors suggests that a wide range of natural substances in the diet may potentially block the effects of endogenous adenosine. We used competitive radioligand binding assays to screen flavonoid libraries for affinity and a computational CoMFA analysis of flavonoids to compare steric and electrostatic requirements for ligand recognition at three subtypes of adenosine receptors. Flavone derivatives, such as galangin, were found to bind to three subtypes of adenosine receptors in the μM range. Pentamethylmorin (Ki 2.65 μM) was 14- to 17-fold selective for human A3 receptors than for A1 and A2A receptors. An isoflavone, genistein, was found to bind to A1 receptors. Aurones, such as hispidol (Ki 350 nM) are selective A1 receptor antagonists, and, like genistein, are present in soy. The flavones, chemically optimized for receptor binding, have led to the antagonist, MRS 1067 (3,6-dichloro-2′-(isopropoxy)-4′-methylflavone), which is 200-fold more selective for human A3 than A1 receptors. Adenosine receptor antagonism, therefore, may be important In the spectrum of biological activities reported for the flavonoids.
PMCID: PMC3429336  PMID: 12083460
19.  Adenosine and Glutamate Signaling in Neuron-Glial interactions: Implications in Alcoholism and Sleep Disorders 
Recent studies have demonstrated that the function of glia is not restricted to the support of neuronal function. Especially, astrocytes are essential for neuronal activity in the brain. Astrocytes actively participate in synapse formation and brain information processing by releasing or uptaking gliotransmitters such as glutamate, D-serine, adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine. In the central nervous system, adenosine plays an important role in regulating neuronal activity as well as in controlling other neurotransmitter systems such as GABA, glutamate and dopamine. Ethanol increases extracellular adenosine levels, which regulates the ataxic and hypnotic/sedative (somnogenic) effects of ethanol. Adenosine signaling is also involved in the homeostasis of major inhibitory-excitatory neurotransmission (i.e. GABA or glutamate) through neuron-glial interactions, which regulates the effect of ethanol and sleep. Adenosine transporters or astrocytic SNARE-mediated transmitter release regulates extracellular or synaptic adenosine levels. Adenosine then exerts its function through several adenosine receptors and regulates glutamate levels in the brain. This review presents novel findings on how neuron-glial interactions, particularly adenosinergic signaling and glutamate uptake activity involving glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1), are implicated in alcoholism and sleep disorders.
PMCID: PMC3349794  PMID: 22309182
Adenosine; Glutamate; Alcoholism; Sleep; Signaling; Pharmacology
20.  ATP signalling in epilepsy 
Purinergic Signalling  2008;4(4):339-346.
This paper focuses on a role for ATP neurotransmission and gliotransmission in the pathophysiology of epileptic seizures. ATP along with gap junctions propagates the glial calcium wave, which is an extraneuronal signalling pathway in the central nervous system. Recently astrocyte intercellular calcium waves have been shown to underlie seizures, and conventional antiepileptic drugs have been shown to attenuate these calcium waves. Blocking ATP-mediated gliotransmission, therefore, represents a potential target for antiepileptic drugs. Furthermore, while knowledge of an antiepileptic role for adenosine is not new, a recent study showed that adenosine accumulates from the hydrolysis of accumulated ATP released by astrocytes and is believed to inhibit distant synapses by acting on adenosine receptors. Such a mechanism is consistent with a surround-inhibitory mechanism whose failure would predispose to seizures. Other potential roles for ATP signalling in the initiation and spread of epileptiform discharges may involve synaptic plasticity and coordination of synaptic networks. We conclude by making speculations about future developments.
PMCID: PMC2583203  PMID: 18568425
Astrocytes; ATP; Epilepsy; Gliotransmission; Seizure
21.  The Role of Extracellular Adenosine in Chemical Neurotransmission in the Hippocampus and Basal Ganglia: Pharmacological and Clinical Aspects 
Now there is general agreement that the purine nucleoside adenosine is an important neuromodulator in the central nervous system, playing a crucial role in neuronal excitability and synaptic/non-synaptic transmission in the hippocampus and basal ganglia. Adenosine is derived from the breakdown of extra- or intracellular ATP and is released upon a variety of physiological and pathological stimuli from neuronal and non-neuronal sources, i.e. from glial cells and exerts effects diffusing far away from release sites. The resultant elevation of adenosine levels in the extracellular space reaches micromolar level, and leads to the activation A1, A2A, A2B and A3 receptors, localized to pre- and postsynaptic as well as extrasynaptic sites. Activation of presynaptic A1 receptors inhibits the release of the majority of transmitters including glutamate, acetylcholine, noradrenaline, 5-HT and dopamine, whilst the stimulation of A2A receptors facilitates the release of glutamate and acetylcholine and inhibits the release of GABA. These actions underlie modulation of neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity and coordination of neural networks and provide intriguing target sites for pharmacological intervention in ischemia and Parkinson’s disease. However, despite that adenosine is also released during ischemia, A1 adenosine receptors do not participate in the modulation of excitotoxic glutamate release, which is nonsynaptic and is due to the reverse operation of transporters. Instead, extrasynaptic A1 receptors might be responsible for the neuroprotection afforded by A1 receptor activation.
PMCID: PMC3179034  PMID: 21401497
Adenosine; A1 receptor; A2A receptor; ATP; hippocampus; striatum.
22.  Emerging role of extracellular nucleotides and adenosine in multiple sclerosis 
Purinergic Signalling  2011;7(4):393-402.
Extracellular nucleotides and adenosine play important roles in inflammation. These signaling molecules interact with the cell-surface-located P2 and P1 receptors, respectively, that are widely distributed in the central nervous system and generally exert opposite effects on immune responses. Indeed, extracellular ATP, ADP, UTP, and UDP serve as alarmins or damage-associated molecular patterns that activate mainly proinflammatory mechanisms, whereas adenosine has potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. This review discusses the actual and potential role of extracellular nucleotides and adenosine in multiple sclerosis (MS).
PMCID: PMC3224637  PMID: 21792574
Neuroinflammation; Demyelination; Autoimmune encephalomyelitis; P2 receptor; P1 receptor
23.  Pannexin1 Stabilizes Synaptic Plasticity and Is Needed for Learning 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51767.
Pannexin 1 (Panx1) represents a class of vertebrate membrane channels, bearing significant sequence homology with the invertebrate gap junction proteins, the innexins and more distant similarities in the membrane topologies and pharmacological sensitivities with gap junction proteins of the connexin family. In the nervous system, cooperation among pannexin channels, adenosine receptors, and KATP channels modulating neuronal excitability via ATP and adenosine has been recognized, but little is known about the significance in vivo. However, the localization of Panx1 at postsynaptic sites in hippocampal neurons and astrocytes in close proximity together with the fundamental role of ATP and adenosine for CNS metabolism and cell signaling underscore the potential relevance of this channel to synaptic plasticity and higher brain functions. Here, we report increased excitability and potently enhanced early and persistent LTP responses in the CA1 region of acute slice preparations from adult Panx1−/− mice. Adenosine application and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-blocking normalized this phenotype, suggesting that absence of Panx1 causes chronic extracellular ATP/adenosine depletion, thus facilitating postsynaptic NMDAR activation. Compensatory transcriptional up-regulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (grm4) accompanies these adaptive changes. The physiological modification, promoted by loss of Panx1, led to distinct behavioral alterations, enhancing anxiety and impairing object recognition and spatial learning in Panx1−/− mice. We conclude that ATP release through Panx1 channels plays a critical role in maintaining synaptic strength and plasticity in CA1 neurons of the adult hippocampus. This result provides the rationale for in-depth analysis of Panx1 function and adenosine based therapies in CNS disorders.
PMCID: PMC3527502  PMID: 23284764
24.  Bench-to-bedside review: Apoptosis/programmed cell death triggered by traumatic brain injury 
Critical Care  2004;9(1):66-75.
Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a physiological form of cell death that is important for normal embryologic development and cell turnover in adult organisms. Cumulative evidence suggests that apoptosis can also be triggered in tissues without a high rate of cell turnover, including those within the central nervous system (CNS). In fact, a crucial role for apoptosis in delayed neuronal loss after both acute and chronic CNS injury is emerging. In the current review we summarize the growing evidence that apoptosis occurs after traumatic brain injury (TBI), from experimental models to humans. This includes the identification of apoptosis after TBI, initiators of apoptosis, key modulators of apoptosis such as the Bcl-2 family, key executioners of apoptosis such as the caspase family, final pathways of apoptosis, and potential therapeutic interventions for blocking neuronal apoptosis after TBI.
PMCID: PMC1065095  PMID: 15693986
apoptosis; Bcl-2; caspase; head injury; programmed cell death; traumatic brain injury
25.  Extracellular adenosine signaling induces CX3CL1 expression in the brain to promote experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis 
Multiple sclerosis and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) are debilitating neuroinflammatory diseases mediated by lymphocyte entry into the central nervous system (CNS). While it is not known what triggers lymphocyte entry into the CNS during neuroinflammation, blockade of lymphocyte migration has been shown to be effective in controlling neuroinflammatory diseases. Since we have previously shown that extracellular adenosine is a key mediator of lymphocyte migration into the CNS during EAE progression, we wanted to determine which factors are regulated by adenosine to modulate EAE development.
We performed a genetic analysis of wild type and CD73−/− (that are unable to produce extracellular adenosine and are protected from EAE development) to identify factors that are both important for EAE development and controlled by extracellular adenosine signaling.
We show that extracellular adenosine triggered lymphocyte migration into the CNS by inducing the expression of the specialized chemokine/adhesion molecule CX3CL1 at the choroid plexus. In wild type mice, CX3CL1 is upregulated in the brain on Day 10 post EAE induction, which corresponds with initial CNS lymphocyte infiltration and the acute stage of EAE. Conversely, mice that cannot synthesize extracellular adenosine (CD73−/− mice) do not upregulate CX3CL1 in the brain following EAE induction and are protected from EAE development and its associated lymphocyte infiltration. Additionally, blockade of the A2A adenosine receptor following EAE induction prevents disease development and the induction of brain CX3CL1 expression. The CX3CL1 induced during EAE is found on the choroid plexus, which is the barrier between the blood and cerebral spinal fluid in the brain and is a prime entry point into the CNS for immune cells. Furthermore, CX3CL1 expression can be induced in the brains of mice and in choroid plexus cell line following A2A adenosine receptor agonist administration. Most importantly, we show that CX3CL1 blockade protects against EAE development and inhibits lymphocyte entry into the CNS.
We conclude that extracellular adenosine is an endogenous modulator of neuroinflammation during EAE that induces CX3CL1 at the choroid plexus to trigger lymphocyte entry into the brain.
PMCID: PMC3458968  PMID: 22883932
Extracellular adenosine; CD73; A2A adenosine receptor; CX3CL1 (fractalkine); Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; Multiple sclerosis; Neuroinflammation; Choroid plexus

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