The anxiogenic-like effect of caffeine in two experimental procedures measuring anxiety in the mouse is not shared by selective A2A adenosine receptor antagonists
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- Yacoubi, M., Ledent, C., Parmentier, M. et al. Psychopharmacology (2000) 148: 153. doi:10.1007/s002130050037
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Rationale: The elevated plus-maze and the light/dark box are two established anxiety tests in rodents, which are useful to screen putative anxiogenic effects of drugs. Objective: Caffeine is well known to promote anxious behaviour in humans and animal models, but the precise site of action of the drug is still a matter of debate. The present study investigated whether the anxiogenic effects of caffeine observed in mice depend on the blockade of A2A receptor. First, the effects induced by the non-selective drug caffeine were compared with those elicited by two selective A2A receptor antagonists over a wide range of doses in the same experimental conditions. The effects of A2A or A1 adenosine receptor agonists and of a selective A1 adenosine receptor antagonist were also investigated. Second, wild-type and A2A receptor knockout mice offered another approach to delineate the role played by A2A receptor in caffeine’s anxiogenic effects. Methods: Mice were exposed to the elevated plus-maze or to the light/dark box for 5 min after acute or chronic administration of tested drugs. Results: Caffeine acutely administered (50 or 100 mg/kg IP) induced anxiety-like effects in both procedures. Its chronic administration (50 mg/kg IP twice daily) for 1 week or consumption in the drinking water (0.3 g/l) for 8 days or 2 months were also anxiogenic in the plus-maze test. The A2A receptor antagonists ZM241385 (up to 60 mg/kg IP) and SCH58261 (up to 10 mg/kg IP) were devoid of acute effects in both tests. One week administration of ZM241385 (30 mg/kg IP) or SCH58261 (3 mg/kg IP) had no effects in the plus-maze test. An antagonist (DPCPX) and an agonist (CPA) at A1 receptors had no acute effects on anxiety-related indices, whereas an A2A receptor agonist (CGS 21680) displayed non-specific motor effects in the plus-maze test. Acute administration of caffeine (50 mg/kg IP) induced no clear-cut anxiety-like effects in the plus-maze test in A2A receptor knockout mice that exhibited higher basal anxiety levels than wild-type mice. Chronic administration (50 mg/kg IP twice daily) for 1 week elicited less anxiety-like behaviour in A2A receptor knockout than in wild-type mice. Conclusions: Adaptative mechanisms following mutation in A2A receptors or their long-term blockade after chronic ingestion of caffeine may be responsible for increase proneness to anxiety. However, the short-term anxiety-like effect of caffeine in mice might not be related solely to the blockade of adenosine A2A receptors, since it is not shared by A2A selective antagonists.