Journal of Anesthesia

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 225–235 | Cite as

Clinical application of adenosine and ATP for pain control

  • Masakazu Hayashida
  • Ken-ichi Fukuda
  • Atsuo Fukunaga
Review articles


This review summarizes clinical application of adenosine and adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) in pain conditions. Investigations have been performed in patients with acute perioperative pain or chronic neuropathic pain treated with intravenous adenosine or ATP, or intrathecal adenosine. Characteristic central adenosine A1 receptor-mediated pain-relieving effects have been observed after intravenous adenosine infusion in human inflammation/sensitization pain models and in patients with chronic neuropathic pain. Adenosine compounds, in low doses, can reduce allodynia/hyperalgesia more consistently than spontaneous pain, suggesting that these compounds affect neuronal pathophysiological mechanisms involved in central sensitization. Such pain-relieving effects, which are mostly mediated via central adenosine A1 receptor activation, have a slow onset and long duration of action, lasting usually for hours or days and occasionally for months. With acute perioperative pain, treatment with a low-dose infusion of adenosine compounds and the A1 receptor-mediated central antisensitization mechanisms may play only a minor part in the total perioperative pain experience. By administering sufficient doses of adenosine compounds during surgery, however, significant and long-lasting perioperative pain relief can be achieved via central A1 receptor-mediated antinociceptive/analgesic actions as well as via peripheral A2a or A3 receptor-mediated antiinflammatory actions. Thus, adenosine compounds have significant potential for alleviating various types of pain.

Key words

Adenosine Adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) Human experimental pain Perioperative pain Neuropathic pain 


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Copyright information

© JSA 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masakazu Hayashida
    • 1
  • Ken-ichi Fukuda
    • 2
  • Atsuo Fukunaga
    • 3
  1. 1.Surgical Center Research Hospital, The Institute of Medical ScienceThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Dental Anesthesia, Tokyo Dental CollegeSuidobashi HospitalTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyUCLA School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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