Adenosine Modulation of Glutamate-Mediated Synaptic Transmission in the Hippocampus

  • Carl R. Lupica
  • Thomas V. Dunwiddie


The concept of adenosine as a neuromodulator evolved from the initial observations of Sattin and Rall (1970), who demonstrated that adenosine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) increased cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) concentrations in brain slices, and that this effect was competitively antagonized by methylxanthines such as caffeine and theophylline. Based on these results, they proposed that adenosine might interact with specific receptors to produce these effects. Although this work suggested that adenosine might be neuroactive, it did not indicate what types of physiological events might be initiated by the activation of adenosine receptors. Subsequent studies by Ginsborg and Hirst (1972) established a functional role for adenosine by demonstrating that it could inhibit acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction, an observation that has been repeated numerous times since then in a variety of neurotransmitter systems. In addition, studies from a number of groups, including Phillis and colleagues (for review see Phillis and Wu, 1981), demonstrated that adenosine had a profound inhibitory effect on the spontaneous activity of neurons in different brain regions, an action that could be attributed, at least in part, to the inhibition of spontaneous excitatory synaptic input.


Pyramidal Neuron Adenosine Receptor Phorbol Ester Pertussis Toxin Transmitter Release 
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© Birkhäuser Boston 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl R. Lupica
  • Thomas V. Dunwiddie

There are no affiliations available

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