Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurochem. 1999 May;72(5):2074-82.

Adenosine prevents the death of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons by a mechanism that involves astrocytes.

Author information

INSERM U. 289, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


The purinergic nucleoside adenosine effectively prevented the death of dopaminergic neurons that occurs spontaneously and progressively in cultures of rat mesencephalon. Adenosine also significantly increased dopamine uptake, attesting to the state of differentiation and functional integrity of the neurons that were rescued. The effects of adenosine were (a) specific to the dopaminergic neurons in these cultures, (b) long-lived, (c) still observed when the treatment was delayed after plating, (d) potentiated by inhibition of adenosine deaminase, and (e) abolished when this enzyme was added in excess to the culture medium. The action of adenosine was mimicked by 5'-(N-ethylcarboxamido)adenosine and dibutyryl-cyclic AMP, but not by CGS-21680, suggesting the possible involvement of A2B subtype purinergic receptors. ATP was also neuroprotective, but its action resulted principally from conversion to adenosine by ectonucleotidases. Several anticancer drugs, including cytosine arabinoside, have been shown previously to prevent apoptosis in cultured dopaminergic neurons by a mechanism that requires the inhibition of proliferating astrocytes. In the presence of adenosine, astrocytes were more differentiated, and their proliferation rate was significantly reduced, suggesting that the neurotrophic effect of the adenine nucleoside resulted also from the repression of the astroglial cells. We did not find evidence of a trophic intermediary in adenosine-treated cultures, however, leading to the hypothesis that limitation of astrocyte replication in itself and/or ensuing changes in the glial phenotype were crucial. Our results suggest that molecules that modulate adenine nucleotide/nucleoside release may be useful for the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative conditions affecting dopaminergic neurons, such as Parkinson's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center