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J Neurochem. 2011 Sep;118(6):979-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07392.x. Epub 2011 Aug 12.

Expression of the 2',3'-cAMP-adenosine pathway in astrocytes and microglia.

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Departments of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA.


Many organs express the extracellular 3',5'-cAMP-adenosine pathway (conversion of extracellular 3',5'-cAMP to 5'-AMP and 5'-AMP to adenosine). Some organs release 2',3'-cAMP (isomer of 3',5'-cAMP) and convert extracellular 2',3'-cAMP to 2'- and 3'-AMP and convert these AMPs to adenosine (extracellular 2',3'-cAMP-adenosine pathway). As astrocytes and microglia are important participants in the response to brain injury and adenosine is an endogenous neuroprotectant, we investigated whether these extracellular cAMP-adenosine pathways exist in these cell types. 2',3'-, 3',5'-cAMP, 5'-, 3'-, and 2'-AMP were incubated with mouse primary astrocytes or primary microglia for 1 h and purine metabolites were measured in the medium by mass spectrometry. There was little evidence of a 3',5'-cAMP-adenosine pathway in either astrocytes or microglia. In contrast, both cell types converted 2',3'-cAMP to 2'- and 3'-AMP (with 2'-AMP being the predominant product). Although both cell types converted 2'- and 3'-AMP to adenosine, microglia were five- and sevenfold, respectively, more efficient than astrocytes in this regard. Inhibitor studies indicated that the conversion of 2',3'-cAMP to 2'-AMP was mediated by a different ecto-enzyme than that involved in the metabolism of 2',3'-cAMP to 3'-AMP and that although CD73 mediates the conversion of 5'-AMP to adenosine, an alternative ecto-enzyme metabolizes 2'- or 3'-AMP to adenosine.

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