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Neuroscience. 1991;40(3):841-51.

Quantitative autoradiographic study of the postnatal development of adenosine A1 receptors and their coupling to G proteins in the rat brain.

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INSERM U.272, Nancy, France.


Adenosine is now considered as a major regulatory agent in the mammalian central nervous system. Its actions are mediated by specific receptors which are coupled with an adenylate cyclase system via a G protein. The postnatal development of adenosine A1 receptors was studied by quantitative autoradiography using [3H]N6-cyclohexyladenosine, a potent receptor agonist in 42 rat brain structures. The coupling of these sites to G proteins was examined by measuring the effects of in vitro addition of guanylyl-5'-imidodiphosphate, a stable analogue of guanosine triphosphate, on N6-cyclohexyladenosine binding. [3H]N6-Cyclohexyladenosine-specific binding was quite low at birth, around 10% of adult levels, and exhibited a rather homogeneous distribution pattern, except in thalamic nuclei. Data showed a sequential development of adenosine A1 receptors in relation to the time course of maturation of cerebral structures with a proliferation peak which paralleled rapid brain growth. The time period by which adult levels are reached differed according to the cerebral region studied. N6-Cyclohexyladenosine-specific binding sites appeared to be functionally linked to G proteins in all structures and at all postnatal stages. However, the potency of guanylyl-5'-imidodiphosphate to displace N6-cyclohexyladenosine binding was significantly lower before 5 days of age, suggesting functional changes during postnatal maturation in cerebral pathways modulated by adenosine.

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