Adenosine A2a receptors in the nucleus accumbens mediate locomotor depression

Brain Res Bull. 1993;31(3-4):397-404. doi: 10.1016/0361-9230(93)90233-2.


The effects on locomotor activity (LA) of selective agonists for adenosine receptor subtypes were examined in mice following bilateral injections into the nucleus accumbens (ACB). The ACB is not only richly innervated by dopaminergic (DA) terminals but also exhibits the highest densities of adenosine A2a receptors in the brain. CGS 21680 (2-[p-(2-carboxyethyl)phenethylamino]-5'-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosi ne), a potent and highly selective adenosine A2a receptor agonist, elicited pronounced, dose-related reductions in LA (ID50 dosage = 0.0031 nmol/mouse). NECA (5'-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine), a mixed adenosine receptor agonist which exhibits high selectivity and potency at striatal A2a receptors, similarly elicited dose-related reductions in LA (ID50 dosage = 0.0023 nmol/mouse). In contrast, intra-ACB injections of CPA (N6-cyclopentyladenosine), a highly selective agonist for adenosine A1 receptors, did not exert any significant effects on LA, even at 2.0 nmol/mouse, a dosage at which both CGS 21680 and NECA depressed LA by almost 90% compared to vehicle controls. Further, the pronounced locomotor depression elicited by intra-ACB injections of both CGS 21680 and NECA, at approximately the ID65 dosage, was significantly antagonized by IP pretreatment with DMPX, (3,7-dimethyl-1-propargylxanthine), an adenosine receptor antagonist with selectivity for A2 receptors in the striatum, at a dosage (0.15 micromol/mouse) [corrected] which alone had no significant effect on LA. These observations provide support for the notion that adenosine may selectively modulate DA-mediated mesolimbic behavioral circuits via agonist actions at a population of A2a receptors densely concentrated in the ventral striatum.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / administration & dosage
  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenosine / pharmacology
  • Adenosine-5'-(N-ethylcarboxamide)
  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Depression, Chemical
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Microinjections
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / anatomy & histology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Phenethylamines / administration & dosage
  • Phenethylamines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Purinergic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Purinergic / physiology*
  • Theobromine / analogs & derivatives
  • Theobromine / pharmacology
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Phenethylamines
  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • 2-(4-(2-carboxyethyl)phenethylamino)-5'-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine
  • Adenosine-5'-(N-ethylcarboxamide)
  • N(6)-cyclopentyladenosine
  • 3,7-dimethyl-1-propargylxanthine
  • Adenosine
  • Theobromine