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J Neurochem. 2012 Jul;122(1):115-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2012.07705.x. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

The brain in vivo expresses the 2',3'-cAMP-adenosine pathway.

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Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Although multiple biochemical pathways produce adenosine, studies suggest that the 2',3'-cAMP-adenosine pathway (2',3'-cAMP→2'-AMP/3'-AMP→adenosine) contributes to adenosine production in some cells/tissues/organs. To determine whether the 2',3'-cAMP-adenosine pathway exists in vivo in the brain, we delivered to the brain (gray matter and white matter separately) via the inflow perfusate of a microdialysis probe either 2',3'-cAMP, 3',5'-cAMP, 2'-AMP, 3'-AMP, or 5'-AMP and measured the recovered metabolites in the microdialysis outflow perfusate with mass spectrometry. In both gray and white matter, 2',3'-cAMP increased 2'-AMP, 3'-AMP and adenosine, and 3',5'-cAMP increased 5'-AMP and adenosine. In both brain regions, 2'-AMP, 3-AMP and 5'-AMP were converted to adenosine. Microdialysis experiments in 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide-3'-phosphodiesterase (CNPase) wild-type mice demonstrated that traumatic brain injury (controlled cortical impact model) activated the brain 2',3'-cAMP-adenosine pathway; similar experiments in CNPase knockout mice indicated that CNPase was involved in the metabolism of endogenous 2',3'-cAMP to 2'-AMP and to adenosine. In CSF from traumatic brain injury patients, 2',3'-cAMP was significantly increased in the initial 12 h after injury and strongly correlated with CSF levels of 2'-AMP, 3'-AMP, adenosine and inosine. We conclude that in vivo, 2',3'-cAMP is converted to 2'-AMP/3'-AMP, and these AMPs are metabolized to adenosine. This pathway exists endogenously in both mice and humans.

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