Coffee, caffeine, chlorogenic acid, and the purinergic system

Food Chem Toxicol. 2019 Jan:123:298-313. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.10.005. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


Coffee is a drink prepared from roasted coffee beans and is lauded for its aroma and flavour. It is the third most popular beverage in the world. This beverage is known by its stimulant effect associated with the presence of methylxanthines. Caffeine, a purine-like molecule (1,3,7 trymetylxantine), is the most important bioactive compound in coffee, among others such as chlorogenic acid (CGA), diterpenes, and trigonelline. CGA is a phenolic acid with biological properties as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotector, hypolipidemic, and hypoglicemic. Purinergic system plays a key role inneuromodulation and homeostasis. Extracellular ATP, other nucleotides and adenosine are signalling molecules that act through their specific receptors, namely purinoceptors, P1 for nucleosides and P2 for nucleotides. They regulate many pathological processes, since adenosine, for instance, can limit the damage caused by ATP in the excitotoxicity from the neuronal cells. The primary purpose of this review is to discuss the effects of coffee, caffeine, and CGA on the purinergic system. This review focuses on the relationship/interplay between coffee, caffeine, CGA, and adenosine, and their effects on ectonucleotidases activities as well as on the modulation of P1 and P2 receptors from central nervous system and also in peripheral tissue.

Keywords: Caffeine; Chlorogenic acid; Coffee; Nucleotidase; Purinergic system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caffeine / chemistry
  • Caffeine / metabolism*
  • Chlorogenic Acid / chemistry
  • Chlorogenic Acid / metabolism*
  • Coffea / chemistry
  • Coffee / chemistry
  • Coffee / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism*
  • Purines / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Coffee
  • Plant Extracts
  • Purines
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2
  • Chlorogenic Acid
  • Caffeine