Background: Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psycho-stimulant in the world. The effects of caffeine on the body have been extensively studied; however, its effect on the structure of the brain has not been investigated to date.
Results: In the present study we found that the long-term consumption of caffeine can induce ventriculomegaly; this was observed in 40% of the study rats. In the caffeine-treated rats with ventriculomegaly, there was increased production of CSF, associated with the increased expression of Na(+), K(+)-ATPase and increased cerebral blood flow (CBF). In contrast to the chronic effects, acute treatment with caffeine decreased the production of CSF, suggesting 'effect inversion' associated with caffeine, which was mediated by increased expression of the A1 adenosine receptor, in the choroid plexus of rats chronically treated with caffeine. The involvement of the A1 adenosine receptor in the effect inversion of caffeine was further supported by the induction of ventriculomegaly and Na+, K+-ATPase, in A1 agonist-treated rats.
Conclusion: The results of this study show that long-term consumption of caffeine can induce ventriculomegaly, which is mediated in part by increased production of CSF. Moreover, we also showed that adenosine receptor signaling can regulate the production of CSF by controlling the expression of Na(+), K(+)-ATPase and CBF.