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J Neurosci. 2011 Jul 6;31(27):10067-75. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6730-10.2011.

Arousal effect of caffeine depends on adenosine A2A receptors in the shell of the nucleus accumbens.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Behavioral Biology, Osaka Bioscience Institute, Suita, Osaka 565-0874, Japan.

Abstract

Caffeine, the most widely used psychoactive compound, is an adenosine receptor antagonist. It promotes wakefulness by blocking adenosine A(2A) receptors (A(2A)Rs) in the brain, but the specific neurons on which caffeine acts to produce arousal have not been identified. Using selective gene deletion strategies based on the Cre/loxP technology in mice and focal RNA interference to silence the expression of A(2A)Rs in rats by local infection with adeno-associated virus carrying short-hairpin RNA, we report that the A(2A)Rs in the shell region of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) are responsible for the effect of caffeine on wakefulness. Caffeine-induced arousal was not affected in rats when A(2A)Rs were focally removed from the NAc core or other A(2A)R-positive areas of the basal ganglia. Our observations suggest that caffeine promotes arousal by activating pathways that traditionally have been associated with motivational and motor responses in the brain.

PMID:
21734299
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3153505
Free PMC Article

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