Effect of long term caffeine treatment on A1 and A2 adenosine receptor binding and on mRNA levels in rat brain

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 1993 Apr;347(4):407-14. doi: 10.1007/BF00165391.


The effect of long-term oral treatment with caffeine on A1 and A2 receptors in the rat brain was studied. Caffeine was added to the drinking water and the animals were sacrificed after a 12 day treatment period. The plasma caffeine concentration was close to 100 microM. A1 receptors were studied using quantitative autoradiography with [3H]cyclohexyladenosine (CHA). Caffeine treatment increased the number of A1 receptors in the CA3 subfield of the hippocampus from 337 to 393 fmol/mg with no change in KD (0.692 vs. 0.675 nM). A1 mRNA was measured using Northern blots and quantitative in situ hybridization. There was no increase in A1 mRNA. A2a receptors, located in dopamine rich regions of the rat brain, were studied with quantitative autoradiography using [3H]CGS 21680 as the ligand, and the A2a mRNA was determined using quantitative in situ hybridization. Caffeine treatment produced no significant change in either receptor number or mRNA, even though the apparent Bmax tended to increase from 322 +/- 8 to 352 +/- 8 fmol/mg. The results show that treatment with caffeine in a dose that causes tolerance to several effects of caffeine and increases some effects of adenosine analogues increases the number of A1 receptors without any change in A1 mRNA, suggesting that the adaptive changes are at a post-translational level. There were no significant changes in A2 receptors indicating that the two types are regulated differently and/or that the amount of endogenous agonist is sufficient to regulate A1, but not A2 receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / metabolism
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Specificity
  • Phenethylamines / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / isolation & purification
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Purinergic / analysis
  • Receptors, Purinergic / drug effects*
  • Xanthines / blood
  • Xanthines / metabolism


  • Phenethylamines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • Xanthines
  • 2-(4-(2-carboxyethyl)phenethylamino)-5'-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine
  • methylxanthine
  • Caffeine
  • 1,3-dipropyl-8-cyclopentylxanthine
  • Adenosine