Caffeine-induced behavioral stimulation is dose-dependent and associated with A1 adenosine receptor occupancy

Neuropsychopharmacology. 1992 May;6(3):145-53.


Caffeine's psychomotor stimulant effects may relate to its blockade of central adenosine receptors. We examined acute caffeine effects on motor activity, adenosine receptor occupancy in vivo, and receptor affinity and density ex vivo. Acute doses of caffeine-sodium benzoate (0, 20, 40, and 60 mg/kg, intraperitoneally [0, 0.10, 0.21, 0.31 mu mol/kg]) were given to CD-1 mice and their activity was measured in an animal activity monitor over a 1-hour period. Adenosine receptor occupancy in vivo was quantified in mice 1 hour postdosage, using the high-affinity, A1 receptor selective adenosine antagonist [3H]-8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine. Adenosine receptor binding affinities and densities were determined from analyses of binding studies in cortical, hippocampal, and brainstem membranes from treated mice (0 and 40 mg/kg caffeine). Caffeine doses of 20 and 40 mg/kg, corresponding to mean brain concentrations of 5 and 17 micrograms/g, increased all horizontal and vertical motor activity measures and stereotypy counts, as compared to doses of 0 and 60 mg/kg. Additionally, all acute caffeine doses significantly altered specific A1 binding in vivo (decreasing binding between 55% and 73% versus vehicle), presumably as it occupied A1 receptors. Therefore, at doses of 20 and 40 mg/kg, caffeine stimulated motor activity as it occupied A1 receptors; at a dose of 60 mg/kg (mean brain concentration of 26 micrograms/g) caffeine had no stimulant effect even though it appeared to occupy A1 receptors. Acute caffeine dosage did not alter ex vivo adenosine receptor binding affinity or density in any brain regions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Caffeine / adverse effects
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Receptors, Purinergic / drug effects*


  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • Caffeine