Adenosine acts as an endogenous anticonvulsant and seizure terminator in the brain. Many of its anticonvulsive effects are mediated through the activation of the adenosine A1 receptor, a G protein-coupled receptor with a wide array of targets. Activating A1 receptors is an effective approach to suppress seizures. This review gives an overview of the neuronal targets of the adenosine A1 receptor focusing in particular on signaling pathways resulting in neuronal inhibition. These include direct interactions of G protein subunits, the adenyl cyclase pathway and the phospholipase C pathway, which all mediate neuronal hyperpolarization and suppression of synaptic transmission. Additionally, the contribution of the guanyl cyclase and mitogen-activated protein kinase cascades to the seizure-suppressing effects of A1 receptor activation are discussed. This review ends with the cautionary note that chronic activation of the A1 receptor might have detrimental effects, which will need to be avoided when pursuing A1 receptor-based epilepsy therapies.
We report the design, synthesis, and validation of the novel compound photocaged N6-cyclopentyladenosine (cCPA) to achieve precisely localized and timed release of the parent adenosine A1 receptor agonist CPA using 405 nm light. Gi protein-coupled A1 receptors (A1Rs) modulate neurotransmission via pre- and post-synaptic routes. The dynamics of the CPA-mediated effect on neurotransmission, characterized by fast activation and slow recovery, make it possible to implement a closed-loop control paradigm. The strength of neurotransmission is monitored as the amplitude of stimulus-evoked local field potentials. It is used for feedback control of light to release CPA. This system makes it possible to regulate neurotransmission to a pre-defined level in acute hippocampal brain slices incubated with 3 µM cCPA. This novel approach of closed-loop photopharmacology holds therapeutic potential for fine-tuned control of neurotransmission in diseases associated with neuronal hyperexcitability.
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