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Concept: Adenosine 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


BACKGROUND: Activation of the A2A adenosine receptor (A2AAR) decreases production of inflammatory cytokines, prevents C. difficile toxin A-induced enteritis and, in combination with antibiotics, increases survival from sepsis in mice. We investigated whether A2AAR activation improves and A2AAR deletion worsens outcomes in a murine model of C. difficile (strain VPI10463) infection (CDI). METHODS: C57BL/6 mice were pretreated with an antibiotic cocktail prior to infection and then treated with vancomycin with or without an A2AAR agonist. A2AAR-/- and littermate wild-type (WT) mice were similarly infected, and IFNgamma and TNFalpha were measured at peak of and recovery from infection. RESULTS: Infected, untreated mice rapidly lost weight, developed diarrhea, and had mortality rates of 50-60%. Infected mice treated with vancomycin had less weight loss and diarrhea during antibiotic treatment but mortality increased to near 100% after discontinuation of antibiotics. Infected mice treated with both vancomycin and an A2AAR agonist, either ATL370 or ATL1222, had minimal weight loss and better long-term survival than mice treated with vancomycin alone. A2AAR KO mice were more susceptible than WT mice to death from CDI. Increases in cecal IFNgamma and blood TNFalpha were pronounced in the absence of A2AARs. CONCLUSION: In a murine model of CDI, vancomycin treatment resulted in reduced weight loss and diarrhea during acute infection, but high recurrence and late-onset death, with overall mortality being worse than untreated infected controls. The administration of vancomycin plus an A2AAR agonist reduced inflammation and improved survival rates, suggesting a possible benefit of A2AAR agonists in the management of CDI to prevent recurrent disease.

Concepts: Infection, Antibiotic resistance, Vancomycin, Antibiotic, Metronidazole, Probiotic, Adenosine receptor, Clostridium difficile


Neutrophil chemotaxis requires excitatory signals at the front and inhibitory signals at the back of cells that regulate cell migration in a chemotactic gradient field. We have previously shown that ATP release via pannexin-1 (panx1) channels and autocrine stimulation of P2Y2 receptors contribute to the excitatory signals at the front. Here we show that panx1 also contributes to the inhibitory signals at the back, namely by providing the ligand for A2a adenosine receptors. In resting neutrophils, we found that A2a receptors are uniformly distributed across the cell surface. In polarized cells, A2a receptors redistributed to the back where their stimulation triggered intracellular cAMP accumulation and protein kinase A (PKA) activation, which blocked chemoattractant receptor signaling. Inhibition of panx1 blocked A2a receptor stimulation and cAMP accumulation in response to formyl peptide receptor (FPR) stimulation. Treatments that blocked endogenous A2a receptor signaling impaired the polarization and migration of neutrophils in a chemotactic gradient field and resulted in enhanced Erk and p38 MAPK signaling in response to FPR stimulation. These findings suggest that chemoattractant receptors require panx1 to trigger excitatory and inhibitory signals that synergize to fine-tune chemotactic responses at the front and back of neutrophils. Panx1 channels thus link the local excitatory signals to the global inhibitory signals that orchestrate chemotaxis of neutrophils in gradient fields.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Chemotaxis, Cell biology, Adenosine receptor, Formyl peptide 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


Caffeine is consumed by over 80% of U.S. adults. This review examines the effects caffeine has on cognitive and physical function, since most real-world activities require complex decision making, motor processing and movement. Caffeine exerts its effects by blocking adenosine receptors. Following low (∼40mg or ∼0.5 mg·kg(-1)) to moderate (∼300mg or 4 mg·kg(-1)) caffeine doses, alertness, vigilance, attention, reaction time and attention improve, but less consistent effects are observed on memory and higher-order executive function, such as judgement and decision making. Effects on physical performance on a vast array of physical performance metrics such as time-to-exhaustion, time-trial, muscle strength and endurance, and high-intensity sprints typical of team sports are evident following doses that exceed about 200mg (∼3mg·kg(-1)). Many occupations, including military, first responders, transport workers and factory shift workers, require optimal physical and cognitive function to ensure success, workplace safety and productivity. In these circumstances, that may include restricted sleep, repeated administration of caffeine is an effective strategy to maintain physical and cognitive capabilities.

Concepts: Psychology, Decision making, Cognitive psychology, Cognition, Cognitive science, Caffeine, Adenosine receptor, Neuropsychological assessment


Plant defense compounds occur in floral nectar, but their ecological role is not well understood. We provide evidence that plant compounds pharmacologically alter pollinator behavior by enhancing their memory of reward. Honeybees rewarded with caffeine, which occurs naturally in nectar of Coffea and Citrus species, were three times as likely to remember a learned floral scent as were honeybees rewarded with sucrose alone. Caffeine potentiated responses of mushroom body neurons involved in olfactory learning and memory by acting as an adenosine receptor antagonist. Caffeine concentrations in nectar did not exceed the bees' bitter taste threshold, implying that pollinators impose selection for nectar that is pharmacologically active but not repellent. By using a drug to enhance memories of reward, plants secure pollinator fidelity and improve reproductive success.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Species, Caffeine, Pollination, Pollinator decline, Bee, Adenosine receptor, Bumblebee


Caffeine is associated with procognitive effects in humans by counteracting overactivation of the adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR), which is upregulated in the human forebrain of aged and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. We have previously shown that an anti-A2AR therapy reverts age-like memory deficits, by reestablishment of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis feedback and corticosterone circadian levels. These observations suggest that A2AR over-activation and glucocorticoid dysfunction are key events in age-related hippocampal deficits; but their direct connection has never been explored. We now show that inducing A2AR overexpression in an aging-like profile is sufficient to trigger HPA-axis dysfunction, namely loss of plasmatic corticosterone circadian oscillation, and promotes reduction of GR hippocampal levels. The synaptic plasticity and memory deficits triggered by GR in the hippocampus are amplified by A2AR over-activation and were rescued by anti-A2AR therapy; finally, we demonstrate that A2AR act on GR nuclear translocation and GR-dependent transcriptional regulation. We provide the first demonstration that A2AR is a major regulator of GR function and that this functional interconnection may be a trigger to age-related memory deficits. This supports the idea that the procognitive effects of A2AR antagonists, namely caffeine, on Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive impairments may rely on its ability to modulate GR actions.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Gene expression, Brain, Memory, Hippocampus, Long-term potentiation, Adenosine receptor, Semantic memory


The complex pathogenesis of anxiety and panic disorder in particular has been suggested to be influenced by genetic factors such as the adenosine A2A receptor gene (ADORA2A) 1976T>C polymorphism (rs5751876) as well as neuropsychological factors such as early information processing deficits. In 114 healthy individuals (males=57, females=57) controlled for anxiety sensitivity (AS), a multi-level risk model of the development of anxiety was applied: Genetic (ADORA2A 1976T>C variant) and biochemical (300mg of caffeine citrate vs. placebo) factors were hypothesized to influence early information processing as measured by the prepulse inhibition/facilitation paradigm (stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) of 60, 120, 240, 480 and 2000ms between prepulses and startle stimuli). A fourfold interaction of genotype, intervention, gender, and SOAs was discerned. Stratification by SOAs revealed that at 120ms and 240ms SOAs in the caffeine condition, PPI was impaired in female ADORA2A 1976TT risk genotype carriers as compared to male ADORA2A 1976TT homozygotes, while no significant effects were observed in the ADORA2A 1976CC/CT non-risk genotype or placebo group. Only in high anxiety sensitive probands, a significant intervention effect was discerned with impaired prepulse facilitation (PPF) due to caffeine. The present results point to an impaired ability to selectively process very early information and to gate irrelevant sensory information, respectively, in female ADORA2A 1976TT homozygotes in response to caffeine, providing further evidence for the adenosinergic system to be involved in the pathogenesis of anxiety.

Concepts: Genetics, Sensory system, Caffeine, Panic disorder, Adenosine receptor, Panic attack, Adenosine A1 receptor, Prepulse inhibition


The question as to whether A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR) agonists, N (6)-(3-iodobenzyl)-adenosine-5'-N- methyluronamide (IB-MECA) and 2-chloro-N (6)-(3-iodobenzyl)-adenosine-5'-N-methyluronamide (Cl-IB-MECA), could exert cytotoxic effects at high concentrations with or without the involvement of A3AR has been a controversial issue for a long time. The initial findings suggesting that A3AR plays a crucial role in the induction of cell death upon treatment with micromolar concentrations of IB-MECA or Cl-IB-MECA were revised, however, the direct and unequivocal evidence is still missing. Therefore, the sensitivity of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transfected with human recombinant A3AR (A3-CHO) and their counter partner wild-type CHO cells, which do not express any of adenosine receptors, to micromolar concentrations of IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA was studied. We observed that IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA exhibited a strong inhibitory effect on cell proliferation due to the blockage of cell cycle progression at G1/S and G2/M transitions in both A3-CHO and CHO cells. Further analysis revealed that IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA attenuated the Erk1/2 signalling irrespectively to A3AR expression. In addition, Cl-IB-MECA induced massive cell death mainly with hallmarks of a necrosis in both cell lines. In contrast, IB-MECA affected cell viability only slightly independently of A3AR expression. IB-MECA induced cell death that exhibited apoptotic hallmarks. In general, the sensitivity of A3-CHO cells to micromolar concentrations of IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA was somewhat, but not significantly, higher than that observed in the CHO cells. These results strongly suggest that IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA exert cytotoxic effects at micromolar concentrations independently of A3AR expression.

Concepts: Gene, Cell nucleus, Cell division, Cell culture, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Adenosine receptor, Adenosine A1 receptor, Adenosine A3 receptor


Blockade of A2A adenosine receptors (A2AARs) and inhibition of monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) in brain are considered attractive strategies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). In the present study benzothiazinones, e.g. 2-(3-chlorophenoxy)-N-(4-oxo-4H-3,1-benzothiazin-2-yl)acetamide (13), were identified as a novel class of potent MAO-B inhibitors (IC50 human MAO-B: 1.63 nM). Benzothiazinones with large substituents in the 2-position, e.g. methoxy-cinnamoylamino, phenylbutyrylamino, or chlorobenzylpiperazinylbenzamido residues (14, 17, 27, 28) showed high affinity and selectivity for A2AARs (Ki human A2AAR: 39.5-69.5 nM). By optimizing benzothiazinones for both targets the first potent, dual-acting A2AAR/MAO-B inhibitors with a non-xanthine structure were developed. The best derivative was N-(4-oxo-4H-3,1-benzothiazin-2-yl)-4-phenylbutanamide (17, Ki human A2A 39.5 nM, IC50 human MAO-B 34.9 nM; selective versus other AR subtypes and MAO-A), which inhibited A2AAR-induced cAMP accumulation and showed competitive, reversible MAO B inhibition. The new compounds may be useful tools for validating the A2AAR/MAO-B dual target approach in PD.

Concepts: Neurology, Neurotransmitter, Dopamine, Adenosine receptor, Monoamine oxidase, Target Corporation, Rasagiline, Monoamine oxidase B