Astrocytic adenosine kinase regulates basal synaptic adenosine levels and seizure activity but not activity-dependent adenosine release in the hippocampus

Neuropharmacology. 2009 Feb;56(2):429-37. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2008.09.016. Epub 2008 Oct 10.


Adenosine is an endogenous inhibitor of excitatory synaptic transmission with potent anticonvulsant properties in the mammalian brain. Given adenosine's important role in modulating synaptic transmission, several mechanisms exist to regulate its extracellular availability. One of these is the intracellular enzyme adenosine kinase (ADK), which phosphorylates adenosine to AMP. We have investigated the role that ADK plays in regulating the presence and effects of extracellular adenosine in area CA1 of rat hippocampal slices. Inhibition of ADK activity with 5'-iodotubercidin (IODO; 5 muM) raised extracellular adenosine, as measured with adenosine biosensors, and potently inhibited field excitatory post-synaptic potentials (fEPSPs) in an adenosine A(1)R-dependent manner. In nominally Mg(2+)-free aCSF, which facilitated the induction of electrically-evoked epileptiform activity, adenosine biosensor recordings revealed that seizures were accompanied by the transient release of adenosine. Under these conditions, IODO also inhibited the fEPSP and greatly suppressed epileptiform activity evoked by brief, high-frequency stimulation. During spontaneous seizures evoked by the A(1)R antagonist CPT, adenosine release was unaffected by IODO. This suggests that ADK activity does not limit activity-dependent adenosine release. On the basis of strong ADK immunoreactivity in GFAP-positive cells, astrocytes are likely to play a key role in regulating basal adenosine levels. It is this action of ADK on the basal adenosine tone that is permissive to seizure activity, and, by extension, other forms of activity-dependent neuronal activity such as synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / metabolism*
  • Adenosine Kinase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Seizures / metabolism*
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Theophylline / analogs & derivatives
  • Theophylline / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Tubercidin / analogs & derivatives
  • Tubercidin / pharmacology


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • 5-iodotubercidin
  • 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dimethylxanthine
  • Theophylline
  • Adenosine Kinase
  • Adenosine
  • Tubercidin