Publications by authors named "Maria Rosaria Domenici"

28 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Insight into the Role of the STriatal-Enriched Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP) in A Receptor-Mediated Effects in the Central Nervous System.

Front Pharmacol 2021 19;12:647742. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

National Centre for Drug Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanitá, Rome, Italy.

The STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase STEP is a brain-specific tyrosine phosphatase that plays a pivotal role in the mechanisms of learning and memory, and it has been demonstrated to be involved in several neuropsychiatric diseases. Recently, we found a functional interaction between STEP and adenosine A receptor (AR), a subtype of the adenosine receptor family widely expressed in the central nervous system, where it regulates motor behavior and cognition, and plays a role in cell survival and neurodegeneration. Specifically, we demonstrated the involvement of STEP in AR-mediated cocaine effects in the striatum and, more recently, we found that in the rat striatum and hippocampus, as well as in a neuroblastoma cell line, the overexpression of the AR, or its stimulation, results in an increase in STEP activity. In the present article we will discuss the functional implication of this interaction, trying to examine the possible mechanisms involved in this relation between STEP and ARs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2021.647742DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8090931PMC
April 2021

The activity of the Striatal-enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase in neuronal cells is modulated by adenosine A receptor.

J Neurochem 2020 02 10;152(3):284-298. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

National Centre for Drug Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

We recently demonstrated that a tonic activation of adenosine A receptors (A Rs) is required for cocaine-induced synaptic depression and increase in the activity of STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP). In this study, we elaborated on the relationship between A R and STEP using genetic, pharmacological, and cellular tools. We found that the activities of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), and in particular of STEP, are significantly increased in the striatum and hippocampus of a transgenic rat strain over-expressing the neuronal A R (NSEA ) with respect to wild-type (WT) rats. Moreover the selective A R agonist 4-[2-[[6-Amino-9-(N-ethyl-β-d-ribofuranuronamidosyl)-9H-purin-2-yl]amino]ethyl]benzenepropanoic acid hydrochloride up-regulates PTPs and STEP activities in WT but not in NSEA rats, while the selective A R antagonist 4-(-2-[7-amino-2-{2-furyl}{1,2,4}triazolo{2,3-a} {1,3,5}triazin-5-yl-amino]ethyl)phenol restores the tyrosine phosphatase activities in NSEA , having no effects in WT rats. In addition, while cocaine induced the activation of PTP and STEP in WT rats, it failed to increase phosphatase activity in NSEA rats. A Rs modulate STEP activity also in the SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line, where a calcium-dependent calcineurin/PP1 pathway was found to play a major role. In summary, the present study identified a novel interaction between A R and STEP that could have important clinical implications, since STEP has emerged as key regulator of signaling pathways involved in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases and A Rs are considered a promising target for the development of therapeutic strategies for different diseases of the central nervous system. Read the Editorial Highlight for this article on page 270.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.14866DOI Listing
February 2020

Adenosine A receptor as potential therapeutic target in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Pharmacol Res 2019 09 2;147:104338. Epub 2019 Jul 2.

National Centre for Drug Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Italy.

Adenosine A receptor (AR) is a G-protein coupled receptor that regulates several important functions in the central nervous system. Large amount of preclinical data suggests that the AR could represent a target for the development of new therapeutic strategies for different neuropsychiatric conditions. In this review we will recapitulate and discuss the most relevant studies on the role of ARs in neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diseases, which led to suggest a therapeutic use of AR agonists in certain diseases (Niemann-Pick disease, autism-spectrum disorders, schizophrenia) and AR antagonists in others (Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, fragile X syndrome, depression, anxiety). Moreover, we will try to analyze which are the main obstacles to the conduction of clinical trials with AR ligands for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2019.104338DOI Listing
September 2019

Activation of Phosphotyrosine-Mediated Signaling Pathways in the Cortex and Spinal Cord of SOD1, a Mouse Model of Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Neural Plast 2018 5;2018:2430193. Epub 2018 Aug 5.

National Center for Drug Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Degeneration of cortical and spinal motor neurons is the typical feature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease for which a pathogenetic role for the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) has been demonstrated. Mice overexpressing a mutated form of the SOD1 gene (SOD1) develop a syndrome that closely resembles the human disease. The SOD1 mutations confer to this enzyme a "gain-of-function," leading to increased production of reactive oxygen species. Several oxidants induce tyrosine phosphorylation through direct stimulation of kinases and/or phosphatases. In this study, we analyzed the activities of src and fyn tyrosine kinases and of protein tyrosine phosphatases in synaptosomal fractions prepared from the motor cortex and spinal cord of transgenic mice expressing SOD1. We found that (i) protein phosphotyrosine level is increased, (ii) src and fyn activities are upregulated, and (iii) the activity of tyrosine phosphatases, including the striatal-enriched tyrosine phosphatase (STEP), is significantly decreased. Moreover, the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) subunit GluN2B tyrosine phosphorylation was upregulated in SOD1. Tyrosine phosphorylation of GluN2B subunits regulates the NMDAR function and the recruitment of downstream signaling molecules. Indeed, we found that proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) and ERK1/2 kinase are upregulated in SOD1 mice. These results point out an involvement of tyrosine kinases and phosphatases in the pathogenesis of ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/2430193DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098854PMC
December 2018

The Role of Adenosine Tone and Adenosine Receptors in Huntington's Disease.

J Caffeine Adenosine Res 2018 Jun;8(2):43-58

National Center for Drug Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Huntington's disease (HD) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder caused by a mutation in the IT15 gene that encodes for the huntingtin protein. Mutated hungtingtin, although widely expressed in the brain, predominantly affects striato-pallidal neurons, particularly enriched with adenosine A receptors (AR), suggesting a possible involvement of adenosine and AR is the pathogenesis of HD. In fact, polymorphic variation in the gene influences the age at onset in HD, and AR dynamics is altered by mutated huntingtin. Basal levels of adenosine and adenosine receptors are involved in many processes critical for neuronal function and homeostasis, including modulation of synaptic activity and excitotoxicity, the control of neurotrophin levels and functions, and the regulation of protein degradation mechanisms. In the present review, we critically analyze the current literature involving the effect of altered adenosine tone and adenosine receptors in HD and discuss why therapeutics that modulate the adenosine system may represent a novel approach for the treatment of HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/caff.2018.0006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6049521PMC
June 2018

Neuronal adenosine A receptor overexpression is neuroprotective towards 3-nitropropionic acid-induced striatal toxicity: a rat model of Huntington's disease.

Purinergic Signal 2018 09 16;14(3):235-243. Epub 2018 May 16.

National Center for Drug Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299, 00161, Rome, Italy.

The A adenosine receptor (AR) is widely distributed on different cellular types in the brain, where it exerts a broad spectrum of pathophysiological functions, and for which a role in different neurodegenerative diseases has been hypothesized or demonstrated. To investigate the role of neuronal ARs in neurodegeneration, we evaluated in vitro and in vivo the effect of the neurotoxin 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP) in a transgenic rat strain overexpressing ARs under the control of the neural-specific enolase promoter (NSEA rats). We recorded extracellular field potentials (FP) in corticostriatal slice and found that the synaptotoxic effect of 3-NP was significantly reduced in NSEA rats compared with wild-type animals (WT). In addition, after exposing corticostriatal slices to 3-NP 10 mM for 2 h, we found that striatal cell viability was significantly higher in NSEA rats compared to control rats. These in vitro results were confirmed by in vivo experiments: daily treatment of female rats with 3-NP 10 mg/kg for 8 days induced a selective bilateral lesion in the striatum, which was significantly reduced in NSEA compared to WT rats. These results demonstrate that the overexpression of the AR selectively at the neuronal level reduced 3-NP-induced neurodegeneration, and suggest an important function of the neuronal AR in the modulation of neurodegeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11302-018-9609-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107463PMC
September 2018

Striatal adenosine-cannabinoid receptor interactions in rats over-expressing adenosine A2A receptors.

J Neurochem 2016 Mar 24;136(5):907-17. Epub 2015 Nov 24.

Department Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Adenosine A2A receptors (A2 A Rs) and cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1 Rs) are highly expressed in the striatum, where they functionally interact and form A2A /CB1 heteroreceptor complexes. We investigated the effects of CB1 R stimulation in a transgenic rat strain over-expressing A2 A Rs under the control of the neural-specific enolase promoter (NSEA2A rats) and in age-matched wild-type (WT) animals. The effects of the CB1 R agonist WIN 55,212-2 (WIN) were significantly lower in NSEA2A rats than in WT animals, as demonstrated by i) electrophysiological recordings of synaptic transmission in corticostriatal slices; ii) the measurement of glutamate outflow from striatal synaptosomes and iii) in vivo experiments on locomotor activity. Moreover, while the effects of WIN were modulated by both A2 A R agonist (CGS 21680) and antagonists (ZM 241385, KW-6002 and SCH-442416) in WT animals, the A2 A R antagonists failed to influence WIN-mediated effects in NSEA2A rats. The present results demonstrate that in rats with genetic neuronal over-expression of A2 A Rs, the effects mediated by CB1 R activation in the striatum are significantly reduced, suggesting a change in the stoichiometry of A2A and CB1 receptors and providing a strategy to dissect the involvement of A2 A R forming or not forming heteromers in the modulation of striatal functions. These findings add additional evidence for the existence of an interaction between striatal A2 A Rs and CB1 Rs, playing a fundamental role in the regulation of striatal functions. We studied A2A -CB1 receptor interaction in transgenic rats over-expressing adenosine A2A receptors under the control of the neuron-specific enolase promoter (NSEA2A ). In these rats, we demonstrated a reduced effect of the CB1 receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 in the modulation of corticostriatal synaptic transmission and locomotor activity, while CB1 receptor expression level did not change with respect to WT rats. A reduction in the expression of A2A -CB1 receptor heteromers is postulated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.13421DOI Listing
March 2016

Long-lasting beneficial effects of central serotonin receptor 7 stimulation in female mice modeling Rett syndrome.

Front Behav Neurosci 2015 14;9:86. Epub 2015 Apr 14.

Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanità Rome, Italy.

Rett syndrome (RTT) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by severe behavioral and physiological symptoms. Mutations in the methyl CpG binding protein 2 gene (MECP2) cause more than 95% of classic cases, and currently there is no cure for this devastating disorder. Recently we have demonstrated that specific behavioral and brain molecular alterations can be rescued in MeCP2-308 male mice, a RTT mouse model, by pharmacological stimulation of the brain serotonin receptor 7 (5-HT7R). This member of the serotonin receptor family-crucially involved in the regulation of brain structural plasticity and cognitive processes-can be stimulated by systemic repeated treatment with LP-211, a brain-penetrant selective 5-HT7R agonist. The present study extends previous findings by demonstrating that the LP-211 treatment (0.25 mg/kg, once per day for 7 days) rescues RTT-related phenotypic alterations, motor coordination (Dowel test), spatial reference memory (Barnes maze test) and synaptic plasticity (hippocampal long-term-potentiation) in MeCP2-308 heterozygous female mice, the genetic and hormonal milieu that resembles that of RTT patients. LP-211 also restores the activation of the ribosomal protein (rp) S6, the downstream target of mTOR and S6 kinase, in the hippocampus of RTT female mice. Notably, the beneficial effects on neurobehavioral and molecular parameters of a seven-day long treatment with LP-211 were evident up to 2 months after the last injection, thus suggesting long-lasting effects on RTT-related impairments. Taken together with our previous study, these results provide compelling preclinical evidence of the potential therapeutic value for RTT of a pharmacological approach targeting the brain 5-HT7R.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00086DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4396444PMC
April 2015

Modulation of Rho GTPases rescues brain mitochondrial dysfunction, cognitive deficits and aberrant synaptic plasticity in female mice modeling Rett syndrome.

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2015 Jun 30;25(6):889-901. Epub 2015 Mar 30.

Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Italy.

Rho GTPases are molecules critically involved in neuronal plasticity and cognition. We have previously reported that modulation of brain Rho GTPases by the bacterial toxin CNF1 rescues the neurobehavioral phenotype in MeCP2-308 male mice, a model of Rett syndrome (RTT). RTT is a rare X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder and a genetic cause of intellectual disability, for which no effective therapy is available. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been proposed to be involved in the mechanism of the disease pathogenesis. Here we demonstrate that modulation of Rho GTPases by CNF1 rescues the reduced mitochondrial ATP production via oxidative phosphorylation in the brain of MeCP2-308 heterozygous female mice, the condition which more closely recapitulates that of RTT patients. In RTT mouse brain, CNF1 also restores the alterations in the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) complexes and of ATP synthase, the molecular machinery responsible for the majority of cell energy production. Such effects were achieved through the upregulation of the protein content of those MRC complexes subunits, which were defective in RTT mouse brain. Restored mitochondrial functionality was accompanied by the rescue of deficits in cognitive function (spatial reference memory in the Barnes maze), synaptic plasticity (long-term potentiation) and Tyr1472 phosphorylation of GluN2B, which was abnormally enhanced in the hippocampus of RTT mice. Present findings bring into light previously unknown functional mitochondrial alterations in the brain of female mice modeling RTT and provide the first evidence that RTT brain mitochondrial dysfunction can be rescued by modulation of Rho GTPases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.03.012DOI Listing
June 2015

Cocaine-induced changes of synaptic transmission in the striatum are modulated by adenosine A2A receptors and involve the tyrosine phosphatase STEP.

Neuropsychopharmacology 2014 Feb 30;39(3):569-78. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Department Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Italy.

The striatum is a brain area implicated in the pharmacological action of drugs of abuse. Adenosine A2A receptors (A2ARs) are highly expressed in the striatum and mediate, at least in part, cocaine-induced psychomotor effects in vivo. Here we studied the synaptic mechanisms implicated in the pharmacological action of cocaine in the striatum and investigated the influence of A2ARs. We found that synaptic transmission was depressed in corticostriatal slices after perfusion with cocaine (10 μM). This effect was reduced by the A2AR antagonist ZM241385 and almost abolished in striatal A2AR-knockout mice (mice lacking A2ARs in striatal neurons, stA2ARKO). The effect of cocaine on synaptic transmission was also prevented by the protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) inhibitor sodium orthovanadate (Na3VO4). In synaptosomes prepared from striatal slices, we found that the activity of striatal-enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase (STEP) was upregulated by cocaine, prevented by ZM241385, and absent in synaptosomes from stA2ARKO. The role played by STEP in cocaine modulation of synaptic transmission was investigated in whole-cell voltage clamp recordings from medium spiny neurons of the striatum. We found that TAT-STEP, a peptide that renders STEP enzymatically inactive, prevented cocaine-induced reduction in AMPA- and NMDA-mediated excitatory post-synaptic currents, whereas the control peptide, TAT-myc, had no effect. These results demonstrate that striatal A2ARs modulate cocaine-induced synaptic depression in the striatum and highlight the potential role of PTPs and specifically STEP in the effects of cocaine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2013.229DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3895235PMC
February 2014

BDNF prevents NMDA-induced toxicity in models of Huntington's disease: the effects are genotype specific and adenosine A2A receptor is involved.

J Neurochem 2013 Apr 27;125(2):225-35. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Section of Central Nervous System Pharmacology, Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

NMDA receptor-mediated excitotoxicity is thought to play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease (HD). The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is also highly involved in HD and whose effects are modulated by adenosine A2 ARs, influences the activity and expression of striatal NMDA receptors. In electrophysiology experiments, we investigated the role of BDNF toward NMDA-induced effects in HD models, and the possible involvement of A2ARs. In corticostriatal slices from wild-type mice and age-matched symptomatic R6/2 mice (a model of HD), NMDA application (75 μM) induced a transient or a permanent (i.e., toxic) reduction of field potential amplitude, respectively. BDNF (10 ng/mL) potentiated NMDA effects in wild-type, while it protected from NMDA toxicity in R6/2 mice. Both effects of BDNF were prevented by A2 AR blockade. The protective effect of BDNF against NMDA-induced toxicity was reproduced in a cellular model of HD. These findings may have very important implications for the neuroprotective potential of BDNF and A2 AR ligands in HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.12177DOI Listing
April 2013

Unbalance of CB1 receptors expressed in GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons in a transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease.

Neurobiol Dis 2012 Mar 23;45(3):983-91. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicine Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs) are known to be downregulated in patients and in animal models of Huntington's disease (HD). However, the functional meaning of this reduction, if any, is still unclear. Here, the effects of the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 (WIN) were investigated on striatal synaptic transmission and on glutamate and GABA release in symptomatic R6/2 mice, a genetic model of HD. The expression levels of CB1Rs in glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses were also evaluated. We found that in R6/2 mice, WIN effects on synaptic transmission and glutamate release were significantly increased with respect to wild type mice. On the contrary, a decrease in WIN-induced reduction of GABA release was found in R6/2 versus WT mice. The expression of CB1Rs in GABAergic neurons was drastically reduced, while CB1Rs levels in glutamatergic neurons were unchanged. These results demonstrate that the expression and functionality of CB1Rs are differentially affected in GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons in R6/2 mice. As a result, the balance between CB1Rs expressed by the two neuronal populations and, thus, the net effect of CB1R stimulation, is profoundly altered in HD mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2011.12.017DOI Listing
March 2012

Influence of CGS 21680, a selective adenosine A(2A) receptor agonist, on NMDA receptor function and expression in the brain of Huntington's disease mice.

Brain Res 2010 Apr 4;1323:184-91. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicine Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299, 00161, Rome, Italy.

The effect of chronic treatment with the selective adenosine A(2A) receptor agonist CGS 21680 on N-Methyl-d-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor function and expression has been studied in the striatum and cortex of R6/2 mice, a genetic mouse model of Huntington's disease (HD). Starting from 8weeks of age, R6/2 and wild type (WT) mice were treated daily with CGS 21680 (0.5mg/kg i.p.) for 3weeks and the expression levels of NMDA receptor subunits were then evaluated. In addition, to study CGS 21680-induced changes in NMDA receptor function, NMDA-induced toxicity in corticostriatal slices from both R6/2 and WT mice was investigated. We found that CGS 21680 increased NR2A subunit expression and the NR2A/NR2B ratio in the cortex of R6/2 mice, having no effect in WT mice. In the striatum, CGS 21680 reduced NR1 expression in both R6/2 and WT mice while the effect on NR2A and NR2/NR2B expression was genotype-dependent, reducing and increasing their expression in WT and R6/2 mice, respectively. On the contrary, NMDA-induced toxicity in corticostriatal slices was not modified by the treatment in WT or HD mice. These results demonstrate that in vivo activation of A(2A) receptors modulates the subunit composition of NMDA receptors in the brain of HD mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2010.01.080DOI Listing
April 2010

Remodeling of striatal NMDA receptors by chronic A(2A) receptor blockade in Huntington's disease mice.

Neurobiol Dis 2010 Jan 3;37(1):99-105. Epub 2009 Oct 3.

Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicine Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299, 00161, Rome, Italy.

Excitotoxicity plays a major role in the pathogenesis of Huntington disease (HD), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Adenosine A(2A) receptors (A(2A)Rs) modulate excitotoxicity and have been suggested to play a pathogenetic role in HD. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of A(2A)R blockade on the expression and functions of NMDA receptors in the striatum of HD mice (R6/2). We found that 3 weeks' treatment with SCH 58261 (0.01 mg/kg/day i.p. from the 8th week of age) modified NR1 and NR2A/NR2B expression in the striatum of R6/2 (Western blotting) while had no effect on NMDA-induced toxicity in corticostriatal slices (electrophysiological experiments). In conclusion, in vivo A(2A)R blockade induced a remodeling of NMDA receptors in the striatum of HD mice. Even though the functional relevance of the above effect remains to be fully elucidated, these results add further evidence to the modulatory role of A(2A)Rs in HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2009.09.012DOI Listing
January 2010

Adenosine A2A receptors enable the synaptic effects of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the rodent striatum.

J Neurochem 2009 Sep 17;110(6):1921-30. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Section of Central Nervous System Pharmacology, Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Adenosine A(2A), cannabinoid CB(1) and metabotropic glutamate 5 (mGlu(5)) receptors are all highly expressed in the striatum. The aim of the present work was to investigate whether, and by which mechanisms, the above receptors interact in the regulation of striatal synaptic transmission. By extracellular field potentials (FPs) recordings in corticostriatal slices, we demonstrated that the ability of the selective type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB(1)R) agonist WIN55,212-2 to depress synaptic transmission was prevented by the pharmacological blockade or the genetic inactivation of A(2A)Rs. Such a permissive effect of A(2A)Rs towards CB(1)Rs does not seem to occur pre-synaptically as the ability of WIN55,212-2 to increase the R2/R1 ratio under a protocol of paired-pulse stimulation was not modified by ZM241385. Furthermore, the effects of WIN55,212-2 were reduced in slices from mice lacking post-synaptic striatal A(2A)Rs. The selective mGlu(5)R agonist (RS)-2-chloro-5-hydroxyphenylglycine (CHPG) potentiated the synaptic effects of WIN55,212-2, and such a potentiation was abolished by A(2A)R blockade. Unlike the synaptic effects, the ability of WIN55,212-2 to prevent NMDA-induced toxicity was not influenced by ZM241385. Altogether, these results show that the state of activation of A(2A)Rs regulates the synaptic effects of CB(1)Rs and that A(2A)Rs may control CB(1) effects also indirectly, namely through mGlu(5)Rs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06282.xDOI Listing
September 2009

A critical evaluation of adenosine A2A receptors as potentially "druggable" targets in Huntington's disease.

Curr Pharm Des 2008 ;14(15):1500-11

Section of Central Nervous System Pharmacology, Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Huntington's disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of a polymorphic CAG trinucleotide repeat encoding a poly-glutamine tract within the Huntingtin protein. GABAergic enkephalin neurons of the basal ganglia, which show the highest levels of expression of adenosine A(2A) receptors, are the most vulnerable in HD. Such a selective neuronal vulnerability, which occurs despite ubiquitous expression of mutant and normal Huntingtin, has suggested that adenosine A(2A) receptors might play a pathogenetic role in HD. In agreement, changes in A(2A) receptor expression and signaling have been reported in various experimental models of HD. The interpretation of the functional significance of the aberrant A(2A) receptor phenotype in HD mice is however complicated by the conflicting data so far reported on the potential neuroprotective and neurodegenerative effects of these receptors in the brain, with some data suggesting a potential pathogenetic role and some other data suggesting activation of trophic or protective pathways in neurons. The same complex profile has emerged in experimental models of HD, in which both A(2A) receptor agonists and antagonists have shown beneficial effects. The main aim of this review is to critically evaluate whether adenosine A(2A) receptors may represent a suitable target to develop drugs against HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/138161208784480117DOI Listing
July 2008

Adenosine A2A receptors and brain injury: broad spectrum of neuroprotection, multifaceted actions and "fine tuning" modulation.

Prog Neurobiol 2007 Dec 29;83(5):310-31. Epub 2007 Sep 29.

Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, C329, Boston, MA 02118, USA.

This review summarizes recent developments that have contributed to understand how adenosine receptors, particularly A2A receptors, modulate brain injury in various animal models of neurological disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD), stroke, Huntington's disease (HD), multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease (AD) and HIV-associated dementia. It is clear that extracellular adenosine acting at adenosine receptors influences the functional outcome in a broad spectrum of brain injuries, indicating that A2A Rs may modulate some general cellular processes to affect neuronal cells death. Pharmacological, neurochemical and molecular/genetic approaches to the complex actions of A2A receptors in different cellular elements suggest that A2A receptor activation can be detrimental or protective after brain insults, depending on the nature of brain injury and associated pathological conditions. An interesting concept that emerges from these studies is A2A R's ability to fine tune neuronal and glial functions to produce neuroprotective effects. While the data presented here clearly highlight the complexity of using adenosinergic agents therapeutically in PD and other neurodegenerative disorders and point out many areas for further inquiry, they also confirm that adenosine receptor ligands, particularly A2A receptor ligands, have many promising characteristics that encourage the pursuit of their therapeutic potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pneurobio.2007.09.002DOI Listing
December 2007

Maternal exposure to low levels of corticosterone during lactation protects the adult offspring against ischemic brain damage.

J Neurosci 2007 Jun;27(26):7041-6

Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Faculty of Medicine, 00185 Rome, Italy.

A growing body of evidence underscores the importance of early life events as predictors of health in adulthood. Abnormalities in maternal care or other forms of early postnatal stress induce long-term changes in behavior and influence the vulnerability to illnesses throughout life. Some of these changes may be produced by the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is invariably associated with stress. We used a model in which neonate rats are fed by mothers drinking water supplemented with 0.2 mg/ml corticosterone, the main glucocorticoid hormone in rodents. Plasma corticosterone levels increased in the dams to an extent similar to that induced by a mild stress. Corticosterone-treated dams also showed an increase in maternal care. Remarkably, adult rats that had been nursed by corticosterone-treated mothers were protected against neuronal damage and cognitive impairment produced by transient global brain ischemia. Neuroprotection was associated with a reduced HPA response to ischemia and was primarily decreased when corticosterone was injected at a dose that eliminated any difference in endogenous corticosterone levels between rats raised by mothers supplemented with corticosterone and their matched controls. These data suggest that an increased maternal care protects the offspring against ischemic neuronal damage and that at least a component of neuroprotection is mediated by a reduced response of the HPA axis to ischemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1074-07.2007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6672222PMC
June 2007

Opposite effects of the A2A receptor agonist CGS21680 in the striatum of Huntington's disease versus wild-type mice.

Neurosci Lett 2007 Apr 14;417(1):78-83. Epub 2007 Feb 14.

Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder. Adenosine A(2A) receptors (A(2A)Rs) are involved in excitotoxic/neurodegenerative processes, and A(2A)R ligands may be neuroprotective in models of HD. However, changes in the transcription, expression and function of A(2A)Rs have been reported to occur in HD models. The aim of the present work was to verify whether A(2A)R-mediated effects are altered in the striatum of transgenic HD (R6/2) versus wild-type (WT) mice. Extracellular field potentials (FPs) were recorded in corticostriatal slices from R6/2 mice in early (7-8 weeks) or frankly (12-13 weeks) symptomatic phases, and age-matched WT. In 12-13 weeks aged WT animals, the application of 75 microM NMDA induced a transient disappearance of the FP followed by an almost complete recovery at washout. In slices from HD mice, the mean FP recovery was significantly reduced (P<0.01 versus WT). A(2A)R activation oppositely modulated NMDA-induced toxicity in the striatum of HD versus WT mice. Indeed, the A(2A)R agonist CGS21680 reduced the FP recovery in slices from WT mice, while it significantly increased it in slices from R6/2 mice. In early symptomatic (7-8 weeks) mice, no differences were observed between WT and HD animals in terms of basal synaptic transmission and response to NMDA. At the same age, the behavioural effects elicited by CGS21680 were qualitatively identical in WT and HD mice. These findings may have very important implications for the neuroprotective potential of A(2A)R ligands in HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2007.02.034DOI Listing
April 2007

L-NAME reverses quinolinic acid-induced toxicity in rat corticostriatal slices: Involvement of src family kinases.

J Neurosci Res 2007 Sep;85(12):2770-7

Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, Rome, Italy.

Quinolinic acid (QA) is an endogenous excitotoxin acting on N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) that leads to the pathologic and neurochemical features similar to those observed in Huntington's disease (HD). The mechanism of QA toxicity also involves free radicals formation and oxidative stress. NMDARs are particularly vulnerable to the action of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) that can act as modulators of the activity of protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) and phosphotyrosine phosphatases (PTPs). Because QA is able to activate neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) as well as to stimulate the NMDARs, we evaluated the effect of Nomega-Nitro-l-arginine-methyl ester (l-NAME), a selective nNOS inhibitor, on QA-induced neurotoxicity in rat corticostriatal slices. In electrophysiologic experiments we observed that slice perfusion with QA induced a strong reduction of field potential (FP) amplitude, followed by a partial recovery at the end of the QA washout. In the presence of l-NAME the recovery of FP amplitude was significantly increased with respect to QA alone. In synaptosomes, prepared from corticostriatal slices after the electrophysiologic recordings, we observed that l-NAME pre-incubation reversed the QA-mediated inhibitory effects on protein tyrosine phosphorylation pattern, c-src, lyn, and fyn kinase activities and tyrosine phosphorylation of NMDAR subunit NR2B, whereas the PTP activity was not recovered in the presence of l-NAME. These findings suggest that NO plays a key role in the molecular mechanisms of QA-mediated excitotoxicity in experimental model of HD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jnr.21178DOI Listing
September 2007

Quinolinic acid modulates the activity of src family kinases in rat striatum: in vivo and in vitro studies.

J Neurochem 2006 Jun 21;97(5):1327-36. Epub 2006 Apr 21.

Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, Italy.

Quinolinic acid (QA) has been shown to evoke neurotoxic events via NMDA receptor (NMDAR) overactivation and oxidative stress. NMDARs are particularly vulnerable to free radicals, which can modulate protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) and phosphotyrosine phosphatase (PTP) activities. The src family of tyrosine kinases are associated with the NMDAR complex and regulate NMDA channel function. Because QA is an NMDAR agonist as well as a pro-oxidant agent, we investigated whether it may affect the activity of PTKs and PTPs in vivo and in vitro. In synaptosomes prepared from striata dissected 15 min, 30 min or 15 days after bilateral injection of QA we observed modulation of the phosphotyrosine pattern; a significant decrease in PTP activity; and a sustained increase in c-src and lyn activity at 15 and 30 min after treatment with QA, followed by a decrease 2 weeks later. Striatal synaptosomes treated in vitro with QA showed time- and dose-dependent modulation of c-src and lyn kinase activities. Moreover, the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine-methyl ester, the NMDAR antagonist d-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid and pyruvate suppressed the QA-induced modulation of c-src activity. These findings suggest a novel feature of QA in regulating src kinase activity through the formation of reactive radical species and/or NMDAR overactivation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.03814.xDOI Listing
June 2006

Chronic treatment with the mGlu5R antagonist MPEP reduces the functional effects of the mGlu5R agonist CHPG in the striatum of 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats: possible relevance to the effects of mGlu5R blockade in Parkinson's disease.

J Neurosci Res 2005 Jun;80(5):646-54

Department of Drug Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

This study was designed to test whether chronic treatment with the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5R) antagonist MPEP showed antiparkinsonian effects in rats unilaterally lesioned with 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) (a "classic" model of Parkinson's disease, PD), and to evaluate whether chronic MPEP influenced the functional properties and/or the expression of striatal mGlu5Rs. Wistar rats were lesioned with 6-OHDA and then treated with MPEP (3 mg/kg/day, i.p.) or its vehicle over 2 weeks. Chronic MPEP did not induce measurable antiparkinsonian effects, since no differences were found between MPEP- and vehicle-treated animals in the pattern of L-DOPA-induced contralateral rotations. In corticostriatal slices taken from animals chronically treated with MPEP, the functional effects of the mGlu5R agonist CHPG were significantly reduced in the lesioned vs. the intact side, while no changes were found in slices taken from vehicle-treated rats. The binding of [3H]MPEP to striatal membranes showed that neither the maximal number of binding sites (Bmax) nor the dissociation constant (Kd) were changed by the lesion and/or by chronic MPEP. While chronic MPEP did not potentiate L-DOPA-induced turning in a classical model of PD, its ability to reduce mGlu5R-associated signal could help to explain the neuroprotective/antiparkinsonian effects observed in other models of PD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jnr.20489DOI Listing
June 2005

Adenosine A2A receptor antagonism and neuroprotection: mechanisms, lights, and shadows.

Crit Rev Neurobiol 2004 ;16(1-2):99-106

Department of Drug Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Italy.

Adenosine A2A receptor antagonists are regarded as potential neuroprotective drugs, although the mechanisms underlying their effects remain to be elucidated. In this review, quinolinic acid (QA)-induced striatal toxicity was used as a tool to investigate the mechanisms of the neuroprotective effects of A2A receptor antagonists. After having examined the effects of selective A2A receptor antagonists toward different mechanisms of QA toxicity, we conclude that (1) the effect elicited by A2A receptor blockade on QA-induced glutamate outflow may be one of the mechanisms of the neuroprotective activity of A2A receptor antagonists; (2) A2A receptor antagonists have a potentially worsening influence on QA-dependent NMDA receptor activation; and (3) the ability of A2A receptor antagonists to prevent QA-induced lipid peroxidation does not correlate with the neuroprotective effects. These results suggest that A2A receptor antagonists may have either potentially beneficial or detrimental influence in models of neurodegeneration that are mainly due to increased glutamate levels or enhanced sensitivity of NMDA receptors, respectively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/critrevneurobiol.v16.i12.110DOI Listing
January 2005

Adenosine A2A receptor blockade differentially influences excitotoxic mechanisms at pre- and postsynaptic sites in the rat striatum.

J Neurosci Res 2004 Jul;77(1):100-7

Department of Pharmacology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonists are being regarded as potential neuroprotective drugs, although the mechanisms underlying their effects need to be better studied. The aim of this work was to investigate further the mechanism of the neuroprotective action of A(2A) receptor antagonists in models of pre- and postsynaptic excitotoxicity. In microdialysis studies, the intrastriatal perfusion of the A(2A) receptor antagonist ZM 241385 (5 and 50 nM) significantly reduced, in an inversely dose-dependent way, the raise in glutamate outflow induced by 5 mM quinolinic acid (QA). In rat corticostriatal slices, ZM 241385 (30-100 nM) significantly reduced 4-aminopyridine (4-AP)-induced paired-pulse inhibition (PPI; an index of neurotransmitter release), whereas it worsened the depression of field potential amplitude elicited by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA; 12.5 and 50 microM). The A(2A) antagonist SCH 58261 (30 nM) mimicked the effects of ZM 241385, whereas the A(2A) agonist CGS 21680 (100 nM) showed a protective influence toward 50 microM NMDA. In rat striatal neurons, 50 nM ZM 241385 did not affect the increase in [Ca(2+)](i) or the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) induced by 100 and 300 microM NMDA, respectively. The ability of ZM 241385 to prevent QA-induced glutamate outflow and 4-AP-induced effects confirms that A(2A) receptor antagonists have inhibitory effects on neurotransmitter release, whereas the results obtained toward NMDA-induced effects suggest that A(2A) receptor blockade does not reduce, or even amplifies, excitotoxic mechanisms due to direct NMDA receptor stimulation. This indicates that the neuroprotective potential of A(2A) antagonists may be evident mainly in models of neurodegeneration in which presynaptic mechanisms play a major role.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jnr.20138DOI Listing
July 2004

Neuroprotective effects of the mGlu5R antagonist MPEP towards quinolinic acid-induced striatal toxicity: involvement of pre- and post-synaptic mechanisms and lack of direct NMDA blocking activity.

J Neurochem 2004 Jun;89(6):1479-89

Department of Pharmacology, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.

The aim of this work was to investigate the potential neuroprotective effects of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5R) antagonist 2-Methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP) towards quinolinic acid (QA)-induced striatal excitoxicity. Intrastriatal MPEP (5 nmol/0.5 micro L) significantly attenuated the body weight loss, the electroencephalographic alterations, the impairment in spatial memory and the striatal damage induced by bilateral striatal injection of QA (210 nmol/0.7 micro L). In a second set of experiments, we aimed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of MPEP. In microdialysis studies in naive rats MPEP (80-250 micro m through the dialysis probe) significantly reduced the increase in glutamate levels induced by 5 mm QA. In primary cultures of striatal neurons MPEP (50 micro m) reduced the toxicity induced by direct application of glutamate [measured as release of lactate dehydrogenase [LDH]). Finally, we found that 50 micro m MPEP was unable to directly block NMDA-induced effects (namely field potential reduction in corticostriatal slices, as well as LDH release and intracellular calcium increase in striatal neurons). We conclude that: (i) MPEP has neuroprotective effects towards QA-induced striatal excitotoxicity; (ii) both pre- and post-synaptic mechanisms are involved; (iii) the neuroprotective effects of MPEP do not appear to involve a direct blockade of NMDA receptors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2004.02448.xDOI Listing
June 2004

Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5)-mediated phosphoinositide hydrolysis and NMDA-potentiating effects are blunted in the striatum of aged rats: a possible additional mechanism in striatal senescence.

Eur J Neurosci 2003 May;17(10):2047-55

Department of Pharmacology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299 00161 Rome, Italy.

The aim of the present work was to verify whether an impairment of subtype 5 metabotropic glutamate receptor-mediated neurotransmission did occur in the aged striatum. To this end, the ability of the subtype 5 metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist, RS-2-chloro-5-hydroxyphenylglycine, to stimulate phosphoinositide hydrolysis and to potentiate N-methyl-d-aspartate-induced effects in striatal slices from young (3 months) and aged (24 months) rats was compared. The ability of RS-2-chloro-5-hydroxyphenylglycine to induce maximal phosphoinositide turnover and to potentiate N-methyl-d-aspartate effects was significantly reduced in slices from old vs. young rats. These changes were associated with a significant reduction in the expression of subtype 5 metabotropic glutamate receptor protein (-28.8%) and phospholipase C-beta1 (-55.8%) in old striata, while receptor messenger ribonucleic acid expression was unchanged. These results show that the signalling associated with subtype 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors undergoes significant age-related changes and that a reduced expression of subtype 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors and, more importantly, phospholipase C-beta1 may account for the functional decline of subtype 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1460-9568.2003.02649.xDOI Listing
May 2003

SCH 58261 differentially influences quinolinic acid-induced effects in striatal and in hippocampal slices.

Eur J Pharmacol 2002 Aug;450(3):253-7

Department of Pharmacology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.

The influence of the adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonist SCH 58261 (7-(2-phenylethyl)-5-amino-2-(2-furyl)-pyrazolo-[4,3-e]-1,2,4-trizolo[1,5-c] pyrimidine) (50, 200 nM, 1 microM) on quinolinic acid effects has been studied in rat striatal and hippocampal slices. Quinolinic acid induced disappearance of field potentials at concentrations of 500 microM and 2 mM in hippocampal and corticostriatal slices, respectively. We found that 1 microM SCH 58261 prevented quinolinic acid-induced field potential disappearance in corticostriatal but not in hippocampal slices. This finding demonstrates that the peculiar binding profile of SCH 58261 and the predominance in the hippocampus of "atypical" adenosine A(2A) receptor population (not recognized by SCH 58261) could have a functional relevance in the occurrence of region-specific neuroprotective effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0014-2999(02)02148-9DOI Listing
August 2002

Blockade of striatal adenosine A2A receptor reduces, through a presynaptic mechanism, quinolinic acid-induced excitotoxicity: possible relevance to neuroprotective interventions in neurodegenerative diseases of the striatum.

J Neurosci 2002 Mar;22(5):1967-75

Department of Pharmacology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 299 00161 Rome, Italy.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether, and by means of which mechanisms, the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist SCH 58261 [5-amino-7-(2-phenylethyl)-2-(2-furyl)-pyrazolo[4,3-e]-1,2,4-triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidine] exerted neuroprotective effects in a rat model of Huntington's disease. In a first set of experiments, SCH 58261 (0.01 and 1 mg/kg) was administered intraperitoneally to Wistar rats 20 min before the bilateral striatal injection of quinolinic acid (QA) (300 nmol/1 microl). SCH 58261 (0.01 but not 1 mg/kg, i.p.) did reduce significantly the effects of QA on motor activity, electroencephalographic changes, and striatal gliosis. Because QA acts by both increasing glutamate outflow and directly stimulating NMDA receptors, a second set of experiments was performed to evaluate whether SCH 58261 acted by preventing the presynaptic and/or the postsynaptic effects of QA. In microdialysis experiments in naive rats, striatal perfusion with QA (5 mm) enhanced glutamate levels by approximately 500%. Such an effect of QA was completely antagonized by pretreatment with SCH 58261 (0.01 but not 1 mg/kg, i.p.). In primary striatal cultures, bath application of QA (900 microm) significantly increased intracellular calcium levels, an effect prevented by the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 [(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo [a,d] cyclohepten-5,10-imine maleate]. In this model, bath application of SCH 58261 (15-200 nm) tended to potentiate QA-induced calcium increase. We conclude the following: (1) the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist SCH 58261 has neuroprotective effects, although only at low doses, in an excitotoxic rat model of HD, and (2) the inhibition of QA-evoked glutamate outflow seems to be the major mechanism underlying the neuroprotective effects of SCH 58261.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6758877PMC
March 2002