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J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Apr;31(2):156-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2885.2008.00942.x.

Caffeine-induced hyperactivity in the horse: comparisons of drug and metabolite concentrations in blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

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Department of Physiological Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.


The goals of this study were to elucidate the temporal and quantitative relationships between caffeine and its major bioactive metabolites in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and to characterize the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationship for caffeine-induced changes in spontaneous locomotor activity in the horse. We hypothesized that caffeine and its metabolites distribute efficiently into the CSF to antagonize adenosine A1 and A2a receptors and that spontaneous locomotor activity correlates well with caffeine and/or metabolite concentrations in CSF and blood. A microdialysis system was developed to allow simultaneous monitoring of locomotor activity and collection of CSF and blood samples for pharmacokinetic analysis. CSF concentrations of caffeine and its metabolites were evaluated to determine the percentage of central adenosine receptor blockade by the established standard inhibition curves. Caffeine increased the spontaneous locomotor activity for up to 4 h in a dose-dependent manner. After 3 mg/kg caffeine administration, blood caffeine concentration as well as locomotor activity increased sharply to near peak level while CSF caffeine concentrations exhibited a slow rise to a steady-state 75 min later. High correlation coefficient was found between locomotor activity and caffeine concentrations in blood (R(2 )=0.95) and in CSF (R(2) = 0.93). At 3 mg/kg dosage, theophylline was the only detectable caffeine metabolite in the CSF. The concentrations reached in the CSF were sufficient to partially block central adenosine A1 (14% blockade) and A2a (11% blockade) receptors. There were no statistically significant differences between the pharmacokinetics of caffeine in the blood and CSF. This study provides novel evidence that locomotor stimulation in horses is closely correlated with caffeine concentrations in the blood and CSF and, furthermore, is consistent with blockade of central adenosine receptors.

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