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Concept: Adenosine A2A receptor


Methotrexate (MTX) exerts at least part of its anti-inflammatory effects through adenosine receptors (ADOR). The aims of this study were to determine the expression of all four adenosine receptor genes (ADORA1, ADORA2A, ADORA2B, ADORA3 and ADORA3variant) in rheumatoid synovial tissue and any influence of MTX exposure on this expression. Furthermore, we investigated whether polymorphisms within ADORA3 were associated with response and/or adverse effects associated with MTX.

Concepts: Rheumatoid arthritis, Adenosine receptor, Adenosine, Adenosine A2A receptor, Adenosine A1 receptor, Adenosine receptors


Genetic factors are important in the pathogenesis of Tourette syndrome (TS). Notably, Dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) gene has been suggested as a possible candidate gene for this disorder. Several studies have demonstrated that DRD2/ANKK1 TaqIA polymorphism is associated with an increased risk of developing TS. However, past results remain conflicting. We addressed this controversy by performing a meta-analysis of the relationship between DRD2/ANKK1 TaqIA polymorphism and TS.

Concepts: Genetics, Allele, Dopamine receptor, Antipsychotic, Schizophrenia, Haloperidol, Dopamine receptor D2, Adenosine A2A receptor


The dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) is involved in food reward and compulsive food intake. The present study developed a virtual screening (VS) method to identify food components, which may modulate D2R signalling. In contrast to their common applications in drug discovery, VS methods are rarely applied for the discovery of bioactive food compounds. Here, databases were created that exclusively contain substances occurring in food and natural sources (about 13,000 different compounds in total) as the basis for combined pharmacophore searching, hit-list clustering and molecular docking into D2R homology models. From 17 compounds finally tested in radioligand assays to determine their binding affinities, seven were classified as hits (hit rate = 41%). Functional properties of the five most active compounds were further examined in β-arrestin recruitment and cAMP inhibition experiments. D2R-promoted G-protein activation was observed for hordenine, a constituent of barley and beer, with approximately identical ligand efficacy as dopamine (76%) and a Ki value of 13 μM. Moreover, hordenine antagonised D2-mediated β-arrestin recruitment indicating functional selectivity. Application of our databases provides new perspectives for the discovery of bioactive food constituents using VS methods. Based on its presence in beer, we suggest that hordenine significantly contributes to mood-elevating effects of beer.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Signal transduction, Receptor antagonist, Dopamine receptor, Agonist, Schizophrenia, Dopamine receptor D2, Adenosine A2A receptor


The consumption of caffeine (an adenosine receptor antagonist) correlates inversely with depression and memory deterioration, and adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR) antagonists emerge as candidate therapeutic targets because they control aberrant synaptic plasticity and afford neuroprotection. Therefore we tested the ability of A2AR to control the behavioral, electrophysiological, and neurochemical modifications caused by chronic unpredictable stress (CUS), which alters hippocampal circuits, dampens mood and memory performance, and enhances susceptibility to depression. CUS for 3 wk in adult mice induced anxiogenic and helpless-like behavior and decreased memory performance. These behavioral changes were accompanied by synaptic alterations, typified by a decrease in synaptic plasticity and a reduced density of synaptic proteins (synaptosomal-associated protein 25, syntaxin, and vesicular glutamate transporter type 1), together with an increased density of A2AR in glutamatergic terminals in the hippocampus. Except for anxiety, for which results were mixed, CUS-induced behavioral and synaptic alterations were prevented by (i) caffeine (1 g/L in the drinking water, starting 3 wk before and continued throughout CUS); (ii) the selective A2AR antagonist KW6002 (3 mg/kg, p.o.); (iii) global A2AR deletion; and (iv) selective A2AR deletion in forebrain neurons. Notably, A2AR blockade was not only prophylactic but also therapeutically efficacious, because a 3-wk treatment with the A2AR antagonist SCH58261 (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) reversed the mood and synaptic dysfunction caused by CUS. These results herald a key role for synaptic A2AR in the control of chronic stress-induced modifications and suggest A2AR as candidate targets to alleviate the consequences of chronic stress on brain function.

Concepts: Brain, Receptor, Hippocampus, Receptor antagonist, Glutamate transporter, Adenosine receptor, Adenosine A2A receptor, Adenosine A1 receptor


Aging produces cellular, molecular, and behavioral changes affecting many areas of the brain. The dopamine (DA) system is known to be vulnerable to the effects of aging, which regulate behavioral functions such as locomotor activity, body weight, and reward and cognition. In particular, age-related DA D2 receptor (D2R) changes have been of particular interest given its relationship with addiction and other rewarding behavioral properties. Male and female wild-type (Drd2 +/+), heterozygous (Drd2 +/-) and knockout (Drd2 -/-) mice were reared post-weaning in either an enriched environment (EE) or a deprived environment (DE). Over the course of their lifespan, body weight and locomotor activity was assessed. While an EE was generally found to be correlated with longer lifespan, these increases were only found in mice with normal or decreased expression of the D2 gene. Drd2 +/+ EE mice lived nearly 16% longer than their DE counterparts. Drd2 +/+ and Drd2 +/- EE mice lived 22% and 21% longer than Drd2 -/- EE mice, respectively. Moreover, both body weight and locomotor activity were moderated by environmental factors. In addition, EE mice show greater behavioral variability between genotypes compared to DE mice with respect to body weight and locomotor activity.

Concepts: Psychology, Gene, Dopamine receptor, Schizophrenia, Dopamine receptor D2, Adenosine A2A receptor


Striatal dopamine adenosine A2A and D2 receptors interact to modulate some aspects of motor and motivational function. The demonstration of A2A/D2 receptor heteromerization in living cells constituted a progress for understanding the neurobiology of dopamine D2 and adenosine A2A receptors. In fact, the existence of putative striatalA2A/D2 receptor heteromers has been suggested to be important for striatal function under both normal and pathological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease. Consequently, the antagonistic A2A-D2 receptor interactions in a putative striatal receptor heteromer on striato-pallidal GABA neuron led to the introduction of A2A receptor antagonists as possible anti-Parkinsonian drugs. The present mini-review briefly summarizes the main findings supporting the presence of antagonistic A2A-D2 receptor interactions in putative receptor heteromers in the basal ganglia. Special emphasis is given to in vivo microdialysis findings demonstrating the functional role putative A2A/D2 heteromers on striato-pallidal GABA neurons play in the modulation of this pathway, in which A2A receptors inhibit D2 receptor signaling. The possible relevance of compounds targeting the putative striatal A2A/D2 heteromer in the Parkinson’s disease pharmacological treatment is also discussed.

Concepts: Nervous system, Parkinson's disease, Basal ganglia, Receptor antagonist, Neurotransmitter, Dopamine, Dopamine receptor D2, Adenosine A2A receptor


Adenosine/adenosine receptor-mediated signaling has been implicated in the development of various ischemic diseases, including ischemic retinopathies. Here, we show that the adenosine A2a receptor (ADORA2A) promotes hypoxia-inducible transcription factor-1 (HIF-1)-dependent endothelial cell glycolysis, which is crucial for pathological angiogenesis in proliferative retinopathies. Adora2a expression is markedly increased in the retina of mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). Endothelial cell-specific, but not macrophage-specific Adora2a deletion decreases key glycolytic enzymes and reduces pathological neovascularization in the OIR mice. In human primary retinal microvascular endothelial cells, hypoxia induces the expression of ADORA2A by activating HIF-2α. ADORA2A knockdown decreases hypoxia-induced glycolytic enzyme expression, glycolytic flux, and endothelial cell proliferation, sprouting and tubule formation. Mechanistically, ADORA2A activation promotes the transcriptional induction of glycolytic enzymes via ERK- and Akt-dependent translational activation of HIF-1α protein. Taken together, these findings advance translation of ADORA2A as a therapeutic target in the treatment of proliferative retinopathies and other diseases dependent on pathological angiogenesis.Pathological angiogenesis in the retina is a major cause of blindness. Here the authors show that adenosine receptor A2A drives pathological angiogenesis in the oxygen-induced retinopathy mouse model by promoting glycolysis in endothelial cells via the ERK/Akt/HIF-1α pathway, thereby suggesting new therapeutic targets for disease treatment.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Adenosine triphosphate, Adenosine receptor, Glycolysis, Adenosine A2A receptor, Adenosine A1 receptor, CGS-21680


Alterations in dopaminergic circuitry play a critical role in food reward and may contribute to susceptibility to obesity. Ingestion of sweets releases dopamine in striatum, and both sweet preferences and striatal D2 receptors (D2R) decline with age and may be altered in obesity. Understanding the relationships between these variables and the impact of obesity on these relationships may reveal insight into the neurobiological basis of sweet preferences. We evaluated sucrose preferences, perception of sweetness intensity, and striatal D2R binding potential (D2R BPND) using PET with a D2R selective radioligand insensitive to endogenous dopamine, (N-[(11)C] methyl)benperidol, in 20 subjects without obesity (BMI 22.6 ±2.5 kg/m(2); age 28.3 ±5.4y) and 24 subjects with obesity (BMI 40.3±5.0 kg/m(2); age 31.2±6.3y). Groups had similar sucrose preferences, sweetness intensity perception, striatal D2R BPND, and age-related D2R BPND declines. However, both striatal D2R BPND and age correlated with sucrose preferences in subjects without obesity, explaining 52% of their variance in sucrose preference. In contrast, these associations were absent in the obese group. In conclusion, the age-related decline in D2R was not linked to the age-related decline in sweetness preferences, suggesting other, as yet unknown, mechanisms play a role, and that these mechanisms are disrupted in obesity.

Concepts: Dopamine receptor, Schizophrenia, Dopamine receptor D2, Adenosine A2A receptor


Sounds, like music and noise, are capable of reliably affecting individuals' mood and emotions. However, these effects are highly variable across individuals. A putative source of variability is genetic background. Here we explored the interaction between a functional polymorphism of the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2 rs1076560, G>T, previously associated with the relative expression of D2S/L isoforms) and sound environment on mood and emotion-related brain activity. Thirty-eight healthy subjects were genotyped for DRD2 rs1076560 (G/G=26; G/T=12) and underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during performance of an implicit emotion-processing task while listening to music or noise. Individual variation in mood induction was assessed before and after the task. Results showed mood improvement after music exposure in DRD2 GG subjects and mood deterioration after noise exposure in GT subjects. Moreover, the music as opposed to noise environment, decreased the striatal activity of GT subjects as well as the prefrontal activity of GG subjects while processing emotional faces. These findings suggest that genetic variability of dopamine receptors affects sound environment modulations of mood and emotion processing.

Concepts: Brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Dopamine receptor, Schizophrenia, Sound, Emotion, Dopamine receptor D2, Adenosine A2A receptor


An individual’s susceptibility to everyday cognitive failure constitutes a risk factor for physical and mental health. Different factors such as inefficiency of executive functioning and high trait impulsivity have been shown to affect this susceptibility. Furthermore, twin studies indicate a high heritability of failure susceptibility revealing genetic variables as an important biological influence. We tested for a molecular genetic association between variants on the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2), which relate to executive control and impulsivity, and susceptibility to everyday cognitive failure as assessed by the Cognitive Failure Questionnaire (CFQ) in a sample of N=500 (n=140 male, n=360 female, mean age M=24.62, SD=7.98) healthy participants of central European descent. Moreover, we assessed whether trait impulsivity as measured by the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11) qualifies as a mediator between DRD2 variants and CFQ scores. We found a positive association between DRD2 variants and the CFQ. This effect was in part yet not completely mediated by trait impulsivity. The DRD2C/C variant constitutes a protective factor for the susceptibility to everyday cognitive failure. Results point towards at least two biopsychological pathways that may explain the observed effect.

Concepts: Genetics, Dopamine receptor, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Schizophrenia, Dopamine receptor D2, Adenosine A2A receptor