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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1997 Mar;21(2):207-17.

Neuroprotective effects of adenosine in cerebral ischemia: window of opportunity.

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Department of Physiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


The inhibitory neuromodulator adenosine is neuroprotective against damage induced by cerebral ischemia. Its vasodilator effects add to its suitability as a possible anti-stroke agent, but also account for unwanted side effects following systemic administration of adenosine receptor agonists. ATP breakdown during ischemia produces adenosine which effluxes out of the neuron. This review will focus on endogenously produced adenosine and its subsequent protection against ischemia-induced neuronal damage in some stroke models, but will also highlight possible disadvantages to increasing adenosine concentrations. In the advantages column, therapeutic benefits have been obtained by enhancing synaptic concentrations of endogenous adenosine using the adenosine uptake inhibitor propentofylline, but not dipyridamole. There is an emerging role for endogenous adenosine in preventing delayed cell death, e.g. following hypoxic pre-conditioning. One of the cons associated with enhancing the synaptic concentration of adenosine is the appearance of adenosine receptor desensitization over time. Thus, there is a therapeutic window of opportunity during which activation of an adenosine A1 receptor is beneficial to an ischemic neuron.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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