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J Neurosci. 2002 Mar 1;22(5):1967-75.

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.

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Department of Pharmacology, Istituto Superiore di SanitĂ , 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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