Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 328, Issue 3, pp 461–471 | Cite as

Differential distribution of adenosine receptors in rat cochlea

  • Srdjan M. Vlajkovic
  • Shukri Abi
  • Carol J. H. Wang
  • Gary D. Housley
  • Peter R. Thorne
Regular Article


Adenosine is a constitutive cell metabolite that can be released from cells via specific bi-directional transporters and is an end-point for nucleotide hydrolysis. In the extracellular space, adenosine becomes a signalling molecule for P1 (adenosine) receptors that modulate physiological responses in a wide range of mammalian tissues. Whereas adenosine signalling has been implicated in the regulation of cochlear blood flow and in cochlear protection from oxidative damage, the potential roles for adenosine signalling in the modulation of sound transduction and auditory neurotransmission have not been established. We have characterised the expression and distribution of adenosine receptors in the rat cochlea. mRNA transcripts for all four subtypes of adenosine receptors (A1, A2A, A2B and A3) were detected in dissected cochlear tissue by using reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction analysis. The protein distribution for the A1, A2A and A3 receptor subtypes was identified by immunoperoxidase histochemistry and confocal immunofluorescence labelling. These receptors were differentially expressed in the organ of Corti, spiral ganglion neurones, lateral wall tissues and cochlear blood vessels. The distribution of adenosine receptors in sensory and neural tissues and in the vasculature coincided with other elements of purinergic signalling (P2X and P2Y receptors, ectonucleotidases), consistent with the integrative regulation of many physiological processes in the cochlea by extracellular nucleotides and nucleosides. Our study provides a framework for further investigation of adenosine signalling in the inner ear, including putative roles in oxidative stress responses.


Cochlea Adenosine Adenosine receptors P1 receptors Purinergic signalling Rat (Wistar, male) 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Srdjan M. Vlajkovic
    • 1
  • Shukri Abi
    • 2
  • Carol J. H. Wang
    • 1
  • Gary D. Housley
    • 1
  • Peter R. Thorne
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medical and Health SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Discipline of AudiologyUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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