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Br J Pharmacol. 1986 Jul;88(3):671-6.

Chronic caffeine treatment reduces caffeine but not adenosine effects on cortical acetylcholine release.


The effects of both adenosine and caffeine on the release of acetylcholine (ACh) were investigated in slices of cerebral cortex taken from rats pretreated for 30 days with caffeine (100 mg kg-1 daily, dissolved in their drinking water) at rest and during electrical stimulation at frequencies of 0.2, 1 and 5 Hz. The effect of this treatment on adenosine binding sites was also investigated in cortical membranes using N-cyclohexyl-[3H]-adenosine ([3H]-CHA) as a ligand. The chronic caffeine treatment did not change animal growth patterns. Spontaneous exploratory activity appeared to be increased at the 3rd day but was unchanged at the 30th day when compared with controls. Caffeine-treatment increased the number of high affinity binding sites for [3H]-CHA by 64% over the control values. Low affinity binding site density and affinity constants were unaffected. Adenosine 30 microM added to the superfusion fluid decreased electrically stimulated ACh release both in rats drinking tap water and rats drinking caffeine. In rats drinking tap water, caffeine added to the superfusion fluid at a concentration of 50 microM enhanced ACh release, while at 0.5 mM it decreased ACh output from the slices. Both effects were abolished by pretreatment with caffeine in vivo. The results indicate that prolonged consumption of high doses of caffeine causes changes in the responsiveness of cholinergic neurones to caffeine. The change is not shared by adenosine, through whose recognition sites caffeine is believed to act. It is therefore possible that the adaptive changes following repeated caffeine administration involve either only the coupler-transducer mechanism activated by the antagonist, or effects unrelated to receptors.

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