Adenosine: does it have a neuroprotective role after all?

Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2000 Sep;33(2-3):258-74. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0173(00)00033-3.


A neuroprotective role for adenosine is commonly assumed. Recent studies revealed that adenosine may unexpectedly, under certain circumstances, have the opposite effects contributing to neuronal damage and death. The basis for this duality may be the activation of distinct subtypes of adenosine receptors, interactions between these receptors, differential actions on neuronal and glial cells, and various time frames of adenosinergic compounds administration. If these aspects are understood, adenosine should remain an interesting target for therapeutical neuroprotective approaches after all.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Adenosine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects
  • Brain Injuries / drug therapy
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Excitatory Amino Acids / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / chemically induced
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / metabolism*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / drug effects


  • Excitatory Amino Acids
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • Adenosine